What constitutes religious bashing?

I have heard people say some pretty offensive things about my religion (LDS). I have also heard outsiders say that they were called ‘anti Mormons’ just because they don’t believe some of the things we do. So, where do you draw the line between disagreement and bashing? Are there specific things that, if you say them, move you past that line? In the case of Mormon-bashing, I would say that certain specific things would apply:

  1. Claiming that we believe God had physical sex with Mary to conceive Jesus. That has never been a doctrine of our church, and I have never met anyone who believed it.
  2. Mocking temple ordinances. Some of us do tend to take them seriously, after all.
  3. In general, accusing us of being mindless sheep. I do think on my own, thank you very much. (Or was there something else I was supposed to say here?)
    What are some of the other things that constitute religious bashing? I am interested in what anyone has to say about any religion or belief. Is there, for example, atheist bashing, and of what does it consist?

Atheist bashing: One can have no morals without God.

Pagan bashing: How can you ninnies believe that spells effect (or affect, I forget) the real world?

Christian bashing would take me forever to type - just do a pit search for Lolo or search here in GD for dalovindj (Sorry, dj, but you do.)


Well, it is not a well defined term, but I will give it a try.

When I propose the nature of your character, based on my own interpretation of your belief, and criticize you on the basis of my own evaluation of that, it is bashing.

What you really believe is certainly not a part of that. In fact, what I really believe is not a part of that. I just took a cheap shot, because I wanted to belittle you, and your religion.

When I disagree with your religion, that might well be an impassioned and possibly acrimonious difference of opinion, or even difference of faith. But to postulate character elements on the basis of your faith, and ridicule you on that basis is not an argument to the opinion, it is a argument to the person. It is not logically germane, and has no merit as a counter argument to anything.

You can bash anyone. Atheists might be thoughtful people, unwilling to accept faith based beliefs, because of well founded beliefs of their own, not requiring faith. They might be dictionary thumping anti-religion proselytizers trying to feel superior to others. Arguing with them can be an intellectual exercise, conducted by logical methods, or it could be hysterical ranting meant to accomplish emotional goals unrelated to the existence of God. Assuming that they are stupid, evil, or even wrong because you believe differently is bashing.

An argument is not an attack. I can point out to you that other views exist, and explain why those views satisfy my need for understanding of truth. I can even listen to the reasons you find my views to be incomplete, or illogical. Argument is the exchange of new information. I already know that some people think Christians are weaklings, and that some find religion itself to be a delusion to escape from fear. Once you have let me know that you think that is the case, there is little other information you can give me. Reiteration of the same opinion isn’t argument. It is bashing.


“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.” ~ Hypatia of Alexandria ~

Your list is too specific. Hardly any non-Morman knows enough about Mormonism to bash your group with the first two items. In fact I didn’t even know that “God boinked Mary” was a roumor about Mormon faith. The third is hardly Mormon specific, yet is frequently used to bash all stripes of religions. No one needs to know the details of your religion to bash it. Or even the basic elements of its creed.

Think of bashing as verbal trashing. Knowledge is hindrance to trash talking, not a help.

Actually, the first two are used fairly often by Mormon bashers. And specifics are what I am looking for- every group is referred to as mindless sheep, I guess, but not every group is accused of being cannibals (aka Catholics) or Satanic (aka pagans). What are some specifics that your particular belief has been accused of?

I think it has to do with tone more than anything else. If I say,
“Hey, Eran, what kind of crazy religion do you belong to? I hear you guys think that God actually had sex with Mary, ha ha ha, that’s ridiculous. I don’t know why you hang around with those people,” that’s got an accusatory tone to it and is Mormon-bashing.
If, on the other hand, I say,
“You know, Eran, I’ve heard that the LDS have some differences in their views on Jesus’ conception, as compared to the Catholic and Protestant views. I don’t really know anything about it, though, so I was wondering if you could tell me what the church’s teachings on that are?”
That’s respectful, and I see no problem with it.

I think that Gaudere is (or at least has shown herself to be capable of being) an exemplary role model for striking the right balance. She is careful to capitalize pronouns when speaking to Christians. She refers to Zoroastrian gods by their correct names. She is, in fact, well equipped for general theological discussion, and when she confronts you, she will be both courteous and probing.

If we are talking biblical literalism, than I guess I bash. I will look down upon anyone who supports the murder of infants whether they believe a god ordered it or not. The idea is repulsive. I will treat ANYONE the same who suggests that such a thing could ever be reasonable - whether they use religion as an excuse or white supremecy. It does not matter. A repulsive philospophy is a repulsive philosophy and I make no apologies.

Now, for the non-literalists, I do not direct my disdain at you. That big book is an interesting read and there are alot of lessons that can be learned from it. The same is true of much other fictional literature. Belief in god is not based on any repeatable or verifiable evidence. If you can accept that, and you agree that the bible should not be considered literaly true, then I really have no problem with your faith. Trust your instincts.

If your position is that there is a good amount of evidence for the existence of god (outside of “feelings”) then I consider your position intellectualy weak. If you feel the bible is perfect and 100% true then I find your views disgusting and repulsive. You will now be treated like I would treat anyone who would support baby killers. How would YOU treat someone who said that killing babies isn’t all bad if religion never entered the topic?

DaLovin’ Dj

I too am an atheist. I haven’t looked at a bible in a LONG TIME, but I don’t remember any special encouragement for Christians to kill babies.

Of course Christians HAVE killed babies in the name of god, but then again David Berkowitz killed people in the name of his neighbor’s dog. I hope the dog didn’t get nailed as an accessory.

There’s PLENTY of reason to mock fundamentalist Christians, without laying a baby killer label on them. No matter how ridely they sometimes treat me upon learning I’m an athiest, not ONE of them has ever mentioned killing babies as a perk I can’t join in on. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well…actually, nobody said that christians were baby-killers, but indeed, some litteralists try to justify the occurence of god ordering baby to be massacred. And I must agree with the poster you were quoting. The fact that they actually desperatly try to morally justify the killing of babies is extremely repulsive to me. I wouldn’t want someone like that around me.

You quoted this poster out of the context of an argument where someone was indeed trying to justify the murder of babies because they were ordered by his god. I must say I fully agree with him/her. I too feel plainly justified in looking down on them. There are certainly plenty of reasons to mock fundamentalists, but this one is IMO amongst the best, not only to justify mockery but also utter contempt.

dalovindj said, “If we are talking biblical literalism, than I guess I bash. I will look down upon anyone who supports the murder of infants whether they believe a god ordered it or not. The idea is repulsive.” NO one in this thread has tried to justify baby killing in the name of god, no even mentioned it until dalovindj, so I don’t see how I got anything out of context.

Perhaps I was in error in treating the terms “fundamentalist Christian” and “biblical literalist” as synonymous. Personally, I see them as such, and have never heard ANYone that says under certain circumstances it is okay to kill babies because God says so.

Rationalizing death in the PAST is something different in my mind, and not limited to religions that claim to follow the bible. ALL religions justify the actions of their own gods.

My point being that “bashing” “biblical literalists” because they “justify baby killing” is at least as bad as a christian bashing me because “I have no morals”.

Put a hundred biblical literalists in a room with an infant (any race or religeous family history you want), an altar, and a knife. I seriouly doubt the baby would be in danger, at least from the knife. Driven insane, even suicidal if it went on enough years, sure.

I apologize. I believed that your quote was a c/p from this other recent thread where a litteralist did try to justify babies being murdered, and another poster’s opposed him using terms very similar to dalovinj’s.

Also, personnaly I don’t see much difference between justifying murders in the past and in the present. After how many years/centuries it’s fine to state that a massacre is morally justified? Is it different if say, a nation is involved instead of a religion?

And finally, certainly many believers in many religions try to justify unsavory events in their history. And they’re equally wrong in doing so.

What I’m talking about is “rose colored glasses” used to view those we identify as our physical, political or spiritual forbearers. As you mention nations, which I agree is an apt analogy, think of US history with Native Americans. I would argue that most Americans who consider themselves “patriotic” (perhaps analogous to religeous?), don’t really attempt to justify the slaughter so much as mitigate it – “Racism was rampant in the context of those days”, etc. They seek to minimize the unadmirable points of their object of their affection. VERY FEW (none I’ve ever spoken to, certainly) of them identify this portion of American History as admirable and worthy of emulating today, more as something of relative unimportance, or a special circumstance, or a deviation, that is not relevant to America today.

And I would argue STRONGLY that the difference between the two IS a significant difference.

Don’t apologize! You hit the nail right on the head clairobscur. Even if you thought we were talking about someone else.

yojimboguy, I never said that all christians believe all of that book is true. However, MANY fundamentalists will swear up and down that the bible is the word of god. The bible is perfect. God is perfect. Let’s try a little If/Then.

If you believe the following to be true:

A. The bible is the literaly true word of god.
B. God and all of his orders/decisions are perfect.

Then you support an entity that ordered the murder of infants, the murder of women who aren’t virgins, the murder of disrespectful sons and more. If this is your stance, then you disgust me and I won’t apologize. If the book is literaly true then god is evil and does not deserve worship. I hope humanity someday posesses the means to destroy such an entity if it truly exists as portrayed.

Also, your government analogy doesn’t hold up. No one I have ever spoken with has claimed that the government (or all of it’s past actions) is perfect. Supporting your government is a hell of alot different from claiming that it is perfect and infallible. A patriot can still think his president is an idiot. Blue laws are ignored by many a good citizen. Jaywalking does not make you non-patriotic. You can love your country and not agree with it’s every action. If you don’ like how things work out you can vote differently next time. Patriots and fundie literalist’s are two totally different animals - to compare them is silly.

DaLovin’ Dj

i don’t see how you can affect the judgement of the person that thinks he is being bashed.

polycarp accused me of having a “jaundiced” attitude about christianity. in a sense that was being bashed because he was using a totally subjective word, but i have no objection to his using it.

some people will respond as if they are being BASHED just because you disagree with them even though they can research and verify what you say. i have repeatedly mentioned the word SHEOL is used in the original hebrew old testament. and is translated as HELL in the english version. i haven’t encountered a single christian in real space that knew this. theologians had to know this for centuries, so what does that say about the distribution of information among christians? how can there not be disagreements among the christians?

it is impossible to avoid what “some” people are going to call bashing.

someone said he loved bashing me and proceeded to say things too dumb to respond to. maybe bashers insult themselves by bashing.

Dal Timgar

Well, you have my apologies, Dal; I only vaguely remember the context, but I believe my sense was that there are a lot of people who did not trade their brains in for a Bible who do believe in Jesus Christ, and that lumping us all in with the ones who did was insulting to those who try to be thoughtful about the subject of their faith (including the mistranslation of sheol and a lot of other issues of the same ilk). Fair?

I think I love you, dalovindj :slight_smile:

You’re one of the few people who have the courage to say what I’ve been saying all along.

It’s nice to have a fan. I see you are in New Hampshire. I used to spend part of my summers in Lee. Beautiful country. Anyway, thanks for the support.

DaLovin’ Dj