Author Topic: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?  (Read 2583 times)

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Offline John Albert

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Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« on: February 22, 2019, 05:22:50 PM »
Admirable, but in my experience there is very often an issue, particularly where religion is concerned, where an attack on the ideology is perceived as a personal attack on the self.

It's true that religious people often perceive challenges to their religion as personal attacks on themselves, but that's just another problem (or rather a feature) of religion itself.

And the same holds true for other forms of woo. For example, some self-professed psychics wrap their supernatural beliefs into their self-identity a similar way. Many of them truly believe they have an ability which is beneficial to others, consider it fair to receive payment for their services, and regard skepticism as a personal attack.

Does this mean we should refrain from criticizing these fraudulent and harmful beliefs?
 

Religion can be so much a part of a person's self-image and identity that it isn't as easy to "love the faithful, hate the faith" as people think it should be.

Other ideologies besides religion also form a major part of their believers' self-image and identity. Here in the US, some Republicans hold their political party as sacrosanct and even conflate those politics with their religion. Are Republicans therefore unlovable?  Does this mean we should refrain from denouncing the GOP for fear of hurt feelings?

To take it to the furthest extent, racist ideologies are especially tied into the believer's self-identity. Does that mean the same argument must apply to racists? What about racist religions like white Christian Identity and the black Nation of Yahweh?

Are we supposed to accept race-identity hate groups as valid cultural practices? Where do you draw the line?

« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 08:06:29 PM by John Albert »

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2019, 09:00:15 PM »
Does this mean we should refrain from criticizing these fraudulent and harmful beliefs?

Of course not. Where on earth did you get the idea that I think we should "refrain from criticising" anything? All I'm arguing for is a more care and sensitivity. Criticism is difficult enough for a person to receive. Criticism by personal insult is rarely effective.

Are we supposed to accept race-identity hate groups as valid cultural practices? Where do you draw the line?

Again, I believe you're arguing against a position that I do not hold. Where did I say that we should accept hate groups?
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2019, 03:49:57 AM »
On the subject of criticizing Islam, Quetzalcoatl said:

     
I like the motto of the Edinburgh Skeptics: Respect People, Challenge Ideas

That is what I try to live by.

And you replied:

Admirable, but in my experience there is very often an issue, particularly where religion is concerned, where an attack on the ideology is perceived as a personal attack on the self. Religion can be so much a part of a person's self-image and identity that it isn't as easy to "love the faithful, hate the faith" as people think it should be.

Forgive me if I misunderstood, but to my ears the above statement sounded like a general caution against criticizing religious ideology, lest somebody's feelings get hurt.

But given that most religions do in fact promote some forms of intolerance or inequality (be it on the basis of race, sex, sexual preference, and/or gender identity), I'm more concerned with the hurt feelings and plight of the victims whose rights and equalities are being threatened. I'm far less concerned about any hurt feelings on the part of the oppressors, regardless how justified they might feel about it.

Religion is not a valid excuse for cruelty. I don't believe in giving a pass because it's enshrined in some cultural superstition. When a Christian condemns gay people to eternal Hell or a Muslim publicly shames women for extramarital sex, those ideas are no less awful in my eyes than a white nationalist disparaging minorities. An argument could be made that it's even worse, because the white supremacists are a fringe minority whereas the religions convey the evil into the mainstream culture under the myth of supernatural righteousness.


All I'm arguing for is a more care and sensitivity. Criticism is difficult enough for a person to receive. Criticism by personal insult is rarely effective.

Well I'm in complete agreement with this. It's entirely possible to criticize the tenets of a religion without demonizing or personally attacking the believers. Tact, sensitivity, even geniality are important when discussing religious beliefs with the faithful.

I'm also in 100% agreement with the motto of the Edinburgh Skeptics. I think we ought to criticize bad beliefs but not hate on people just for having them. After all, people are capable of changing their beliefs, but it serves no purpose to look the other way or pretend that the bad parts don't exist out of some misplaced respect for the 'culture.'
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 04:58:50 AM by John Albert »

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2019, 03:16:08 PM »
I think the point is not that religious ideas should be immune to criticism, but that one should not expect that it is possible to separate the belief from the believer, especially in the eyes of the believer. 

Consider the old "love the sinner, hate the sin' canard. It's not possible to love a person while hating something as fundamental to their being as their sexuality; they are inseparable. You can't expect a person to feel or believe or react as though you love them while you are saying that an essential part of them is evil and hated. Likewise it is not reasonable to expect a religious person not to feel personally attacked when you attack something so fundamental to their sense of self as their religion. That doesn't mean that you can't discuss flaws in religion, its negative consequences, etc., but you have to accept that denouncing those ideas is denouncing those who hold those ideas, and it will be felt and responded to as such.

Well said.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2019, 09:02:10 PM »
I think the point is not that religious ideas should be immune to criticism, but that one should not expect that it is possible to separate the belief from the believer, especially in the eyes of the believer. 

Consider the old "love the sinner, hate the sin' canard. It's not possible to love a person while hating something as fundamental to their being as their sexuality; they are inseparable. You can't expect a person to feel or believe or react as though you love them while you are saying that an essential part of them is evil and hated. Likewise it is not reasonable to expect a religious person not to feel personally attacked when you attack something so fundamental to their sense of self as their religion. That doesn't mean that you can't discuss flaws in religion, its negative consequences, etc., but you have to accept that denouncing those ideas is denouncing those who hold those ideas, and it will be felt and responded to as such.

Well said.

Yes, this quite succinctly encapsulates my own thoughts about the subject.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2019, 01:28:37 PM »
but you have to accept that denouncing those ideas is denouncing those who hold those ideas, and it will be felt and responded to as such.

I don't buy into this at all. I am not "denouncing" anyone holding a particular belief if I criticize that belief.
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2019, 05:20:40 PM »
but you have to accept that denouncing those ideas is denouncing those who hold those ideas, and it will be felt and responded to as such.

I don't buy into this at all. I am not "denouncing" anyone holding a particular belief if I criticize that belief.

I don't buy it either.

The "love the sinner, hate the sin" canard is completely irrelevant to atheists' criticism of religion. Religious belief is not equivalent to physical gender or sexual preference. As an atheist, I do not believe in sin, and I am not leveraging the institutional authority of my personal beliefs for the purpose of hurting anyone.

Criticizing a belief is not equivalent to denouncing the believer. Criticizing an ideology is objectively different from attacking someone personally or threatening their civil rights. Even if the believer might feel insulted by having their beliefs challenged, that's not my problem, but an unfortunate consequence of the believer's own indoctrination.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 05:31:15 PM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2019, 05:46:11 PM »
Criticizing a belief is not equivalent to denouncing the believer. Criticizing an ideology is objectively different from attacking someone personally or threatening their civil rights. Even if the believer might feel insulted by having their beliefs challenged, that is not problem, but a consequence of their own indoctrination.

It is not objectively different, but subjectively so.  You consider it different because you value one and do not value the other; but the believer does not: for them, their beliefs are at least as fundamental to their being as are the rights and other qualities you consider sacrosanct. To criticize their beliefs is to criticize them personally, as surely as would be criticizing another person's race or sexual identity.  As for their value being a matter of indoctrination, many believers would say the same of some of the things you consider deserving of protection.

Advocating for actual physical harm of others (oppressing women, physically mutilating peoples' gonads, killing homosexuals and apostates, denying civil rights, etc.) is objectively different from mere verbal criticism of somebody's beliefs.

Like I said, if somebody feels personally attacked by hearing their beliefs challenged, that's their problem. I'm not publicly vilifying anyone, infringing on their rights, or inflicting actual harm. The aspects of religion that I criticize are precisely those which infringe on the rights, equality and safety of others. And when it comes to harmful, irrational ideologies, I will always defend the rights of actual victims over the self-righteous delusions of their oppressors.

I don't waste any more time worrying about the feelings of religious bigots any more than I would spend worrying about Nazi fears of white genocide.

To be honest, I'm finding your moral relativism rather worrisome. Are you sure you want to die on this hill, defending religious people's claims of rights to harm and kill women, LGBTQ people and anyone who believes differently from them?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 09:34:54 AM by John Albert »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2019, 06:11:25 PM »
To criticize their beliefs is to criticize them personally, as surely as would be criticizing another person's race or sexual identity.



As for their value being a matter of indoctrination, many believers would say the same of some of the things you consider deserving of protection.



In case you haven't noticed, skepticism is to a significant part about scrutinizing and criticizing ideas and beliefs that people might hold. How do you feel about that?
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Offline heyalison

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2019, 05:41:36 AM »
I love how some white, cis guys who "don't believe in identity politics" need to bring up being a skeptic at every opportunity, and surround themselves with the gifs, videos, and hero worship of skeptic idpol whenever that identity feels threatened.  ::)

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2019, 09:32:46 AM »
Sort of like how some people who are supposedly against gender and race discrimination manage to shoehorn people's race and gender into the discussion at every opportunity.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2019, 10:27:27 AM »
It's pretty fundamental to the whole humanist outlook to treat all people with basic human respect and dignity, regardless whatever stupid, crazy, or small-minded beliefs they might hold.

But at the same time, we should also be working to discredit unreasonable beliefs, especially ideologies that specifically instruct their followers to harm others. 

And if somebody acting on their bad beliefs is causing harm to others, that's a different story. In that case we have a responsibility to intervene.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2019, 12:07:16 PM »
I made no argument in defense of advocating physical harm, nor did am I advocating or defending any belief.

But that's the discussion we've been having all along; whether or not it's appropriate to criticize religions for advocating harm.

Arthwollipot said that criticism is problematic because some religious people consider their religion part of their identity, and you've been arguing that there's no functional difference between criticizing a religion and punishing people for their race, gender, or sexual preference.


My argument is against the claim that criticizing beliefs, especially deeply held religious ones, is separable from criticism of the individual who holds those beliefs.

I understand what your argument is, and it's wrong.

Criticizing a belief system is objectively not the same thing as personally attacking everyone who holds those beliefs. Beliefs are not people. It is entirely possible to criticize somebody's beliefs and still respect their personal dignity and civil rights.

Even if some believer feels attacked, they have no reasonable justification for feeling that way. Nobody has a right to never have their beliefs challenged. Nobody has a right to never be offended. 


I am arguing against the idea that people have a right to be offended if their race, gender or sexuality is criticized but not if their religious beliefs are.

I didn't say that religious people have no right to be offended. Of course everyone has a "right" to be offended. But just because people feel a certain way, that doesn't mean the feeling is justified. Feelings are often contrary to reality.

I may feel 100% certain that my wife is fucking the postman. That doesn't give me a right to attack the postman with a baseball bat.


Religious beliefs are no less fundamental to and inseparable from personal identity than are race and gender.

This is wrong. Religions are sets of beliefs, and beliefs are not immutable or inescapable. People quite often change their religion, or reject it outright. The same is not necessarily true of skin color, racial features, biological sex characteristics, or sexual preference.


But those who believe that homosexuality is wrong and sinful and causes actual harm to society also have to right to express their beliefs.  And those who believe that transgender does not exist have a right to express their beliefs.

Agreed. Bigots have a right to express their bigoted beliefs, in the USA at least. Other countries have anti hate speech laws.

And I propose that Humanists have not only a right, but also a social obligation to defend and protect the rights of the oppressed. That means we have a social obligation to oppose the bigoted ideas, regardless whether the bigotry is rooted or justified in some religion.

If somebody is an anti-Semite, it makes no difference to me whether they hold that belief because of a devotion to Islam or an admiration for Adolf Hitler. Both are unreasonable, and neither of them redeems antisemitism from being socially destructive. (A reasonable argument could even be made that following Hitler is more defensible than following religion, because at least there's evidence that Hitler actually existed.)


And yet the expression of those beliefs will undoubtably be felt by those who are queer as a personal attack no matter how much the religious bigot tells them that they are not attacking them personally.

Teaching that the highest imaginable authority in the universe has deemed LGBTQ people evil perverts is not a criticism of a belief system; it's an attack on the people themselves. It demonizes people for being who they are, something they have no control over. It inflicts shame and ostracism, and justifies the denial of their civil rights. Likewise, the religious oppression of women is not just a criticism of some ideology, but a set of rules that relegate women to an inferior status. That allows (and even mandates) men to abuse them with impunity. These are real world consequences, not just somebody's hurt feelings.

Gay bashing ≠ hurt feelings
Denying marriage rights ≠ hurt feelings
Denying bathroom rights ≠ hurt feelings
Denying medical services ≠ hurt feelings
Genital mutilation ≠ hurt feelings
Honor killings ≠ hurt feelings
Killing apostates ≠ hurt feelings


I'm not objecting to your expressing your opinions.  Nor am I arguing that under no circumstances can you cause offense to another through your expression.  Indeed, if your convictions of the harm done by religious ideas is strong enough, you should be willing to give offense by expressing them. But so, too, should the religious person be willing to give offense if they have a similar conviction about the harm done by homosexuality.

My point is that there's a fundamental difference between a religious person vilifying homosexuals, and a secularist criticizing the religion that vilifies homosexuals. The secularist is criticizing an ideology, whereas the religious bigot is actively promoting oppression against a marginalized group. That difference is not merely subjective. 


My only argument is that neither you nor they would be right in telling the person you are criticizing that your criticisms are not offensive.

There's that moral relativism again. You seem unwilling to recognize any distinction between criticizing bad ideas and urging injustice and harm against other human beings. From my viewpoint that's kind of beyond the pale.


As I believe I have made clear above (though it should have been clear before), I am not defending any action or even any belief.

But by equating the criticism of intangible ideas with the urging of actual harm against others, you are placing the two on equal moral footing.


That said, I am an unabashed moral relativist, for reasons that I have repeatedly explained in detail on this forum in the past. In fine, I see no basis in fact for for the position that it is possible for moral claims to be objectively true.

Well that's your problem. I've tried to explain to you the ways in which morality can be objective, but since you refuse to question your own argument (which hinges on a narrow definition of "objective"), there's not much I can do except try to explain it again.


Moral claims may be strongly held or nearly universally held; but they are incapable of proof or disproof in an argument that does not ultimately involve an appeal to the values of the arguer. They are therefore essentially and irredeemably subjective.

It's true that moral claims must involve an appeal to the values of the arguer. But if we presume that the arguer and his interlocutor are both sapient beings capable of empathy, who both find common value in health, comfort and safety, those values can form a mutually-agreeable morality upon which a moral system can be (and many historically have been) constructed. That's how human rights work; they're basic moral values enshrined in law by assent of the governed.

I'm sorry if you don't find that theory compelling, but it's a far cry better than throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


But, as I have also often said before, their subjectivity does not make them any less real or important. Indeed, some of the most important things in life are subjective. The beauty of a work of art is no less real or meaningful for its undeniable subjectivity. I myself hold strong moral convictions, ones which I will advocate strongly for and which I think if adopted by all would make the world a better place. I do not feel them any less strongly or think them any less important for the fact that I recognize their essential subjectivity.

If you can't even discern the moral difference between criticizing an indefensible ideology and baldly asserting a supernatural imperative to mutilate and kill other people, then your "moral convictions" leave something to be desired.


one of the first arguments I ever had on this forum was almost identical to this one: people arguing that their criticism of religion was not offensive on much the same grounds.

I'm not arguing that criticism of religion is not offensive. I acknowledge that whether or not it's deemed "offensive" is a matter of opinion.

I'm saying that when I criticize the destructive parts of religion, I don't care if somebody's offended, because the real, physical and social damages caused by religion are far worse than some religious person getting their sense of privilege hurt.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 11:20:59 AM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2019, 08:50:37 PM »
Nobody is saying that problematic ideas should not be challenged. What people are saying as that you should not pretend that doing so is not a personal attack on the holders of those beliefs; it necessarily is.

Criticizing a belief is not personal attack on the holder of the belief. We've been criticizing each other's beliefs and ideas throughout this discussion. At no time did I consider that a personal attack on myself, and I suspect that you feel the same way. Reasonable thinkers are capable of separating ideas from people, though others may be unwilling to do so.


As you say, it may be a justified attack; but if that is the case you should acknowledge and even embrace that fact, rather than trying to deny it away.

No, I very much disagree. Criticizing an idea does not amount to a personal attack against the holders of that idea. Justified or not, ideas are not people.

That distinction between ideas and people is why the rules of reasoned discourse specify an informal logical fallacy called an "ad hominem argument." That fallacy is specially intended to distinguish attacks on people (which is bad) from criticism of ideas (which is allowable). 


You are arguing throughout this thread against a position that, as far as I can tell, nobody has taken.

Don't try to pull that gaslighting bullshit on me. Right now, you are taking the exact position I'm arguing against! 


All of the shit you've been saying about me/us defending violence and all manner of harms is just made up out of whole cloth, so I won't respond to it.


You said:

       
Religious beliefs are no less fundamental to and inseparable from personal identity than are race and gender.

...and...

                   
those who believe that homosexuality is wrong and sinful and causes actual harm to society also have to right to express their beliefs.  And those who believe that transgender does not exist have a right to express their beliefs. And yet the expression of those beliefs will undoubtably be felt by those who are queer as a personal attack no matter how much the religious bigot tells them that they are not attacking them personally.

Please clarify if I'm wrong, but I took these statements to mean that religious beliefs are just as fundamental as sex, race and gender; so criticism of religion (criticism of an idea) is an "attack" on religious people, which is essentially no different than religious leaders demonizing LGBTQ people (an attack on people).

You seem to be defending that view on the premise that people on both sides have a "right" to express their own opinions, therefore neither position is any more right or wrong than the other. Which I think is totally bonkers when you look at the actual reality of the situation.

Religious people may "feel" attacked when their beliefs are criticized. But women and LGBTQ people don't just "feel" attacked, they actually suffer real-world harm from being publicly denigrated and having their rights stripped away.

Ideas are not people, no matter how much some doofuses might want to conflate the two. It is entirely possible to criticize somebody's beliefs while still respecting their personal dignity, autonomy, and civil rights. On the other hand, denigrating somebody as an evil pervert, or demanding that she obey the orders of her husband, or politically advocating to rescind their civil rights; that is disrespecting their personal dignity, autonomy, and civil rights.

Criticizing ideas may cause imaginary harm in the mind of the believer, but hate speech results in actual, real-world harm. That reality-versus-imagination distinction is the essential point that you've been obstinately refusing to accept.


But I will repeat, once again, that the only thing I (and as far as I can see anyone else) have said is that ideas, especially religious ones, are such a fundamental part of people's identity that they cannot be attacked without the attack being personal.

And that statement is incorrect.

One does not "attack" ideas. One may criticize ideas, but that does not amount to a personal attack on individuals who hold those ideas.

Some indoctrinated believers might feel that a criticism of their religion is an attack on their person, but that is just an irrational feeling that results from being so indoctrinated that they hold those beliefs above question. As we all know, feelings are not always consistent with reality.

The real problem is not the free discourse and open criticism of ideas, but the indoctrination that causes people to react so unreasonably to criticism.


One's identity is one's sense of self; to attack one is to attack the other. The idea that you can say that a person's religious beliefs are wrong and harmful without it being personal--without necessarily saying that they themselves are wrong and harmful is just wrong.

Your moral relativism seems to have rendered you incapable (or unwilling) of determining that being the target of hatred, injustice and violence is objectively worse than having one's feelings of religious privilege challenged.

Do you not acknowledge that some harms can be imaginary and not real?

To you that may all be nebulous and subjective, but I know that actively promoting real-world harm against others is the greater wrong. I know that because I'm not a moral relativist, which means I accept that harm and beneficence can be determined objectively.


I do not agree that immutability or inescapability are what make aspects of one's identity fundamental to one's being; none of the things which I consider most fundamental to and inseparable from my own identity are things which have been constants from my birth.  Nor do I consider only those things about a person which they cannot change worthy of respect.

So what does "fundamental to one's being" even mean? 

I don't care what you or anybody else might feel about these woo-woo topics like the "soul" or "the core of [one's] being." The entire concept that a belief or idea can be "fundamental" to "being" is nothing more than a religious platitude.

I think you're going to need to support that claim with scientific evidence, because I'm finding it completely meaningless.


Indeed, many things which I feel must be protected, such as racial and gender and sexual identity, are at least in part social constructs and in many cases fluid over the course both of an individual person's life and of the history of society even on relatively short timescales.  Nor am I at all sure that sexual orientation is immutable or comfortable with the idea that protections for those of minority sexual orientations should be predicated on the basis that we were 'born that way' or that we 'can't help it'.

I'm not 100% sure whether sexual orientation is immutable either. But biological sex and physical attributes are, and every gay person I've ever asked has told me that being gay is not a choice for them.

And from my perspective, not vilifying people for personal attributes that they cannot change seems like a good place to start. This is where the crimes of religion are objectively worse than any imaginary harm somebody might feel from having their beliefs challenged.


For that matter, I'm not at all sure that the propensity for religious belief and even for the fear of 'others' is not at least in part biological.

I think that neuroscience has made it clear that all beliefs are attributed to biological processes, but that is not to say that they cannot be changed. In fact, people are changing their beliefs all the time. Even most religious people change their religious beliefs at some point in their lives.

Anyway, there's already a thread for that discussion if you want to continue.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 01:44:52 AM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2019, 09:23:15 AM »
You mischaracterize my position. I did not say that "demonizing" anyone with "hate speech" was that same as criticizing any other person.

That's not what I said. You're mischaracterizing my position.

I said that your argument essentially boils down to, "when atheists criticize sincere religious beliefs, that is just as bad as the religious oppression of women and LGBTQ people."

And I'm saying that's raving apeshit bonkers crazy talk.

The fundamental difference, which you seem intent on ignoring, is that the atheists aren't actually oppressing anybody. And nor are the women and LGBTQ people who are the targets of religious oppression.

Criticizing religious beliefs is not the same thing as promoting hate crimes against religious people, or petitioning the government to curtail their civil rights and take away their medical care. The atheists aren't throwing gay men off towers, tossing acid in women's faces or stoning them to death for taking a lover. Those things are being done only by religious people, in accordance with the teachings of their ancient mythology and small-minded spiritual leaders.


I said that claiming that criticism of religious beliefs as wrong and harmful is not a criticism of believers is as misguided as claiming that criticism of homosexuality and transgender as wrong and harmful is not a criticism of queer people.

Yeah, like I said that's crazy talk. Criticizing beliefs is not equivalent to actually bringing real harm to people.


Ah, well, there you have it. I do care about people's feelings and their sense of personal identity, even though both are subjective. And I believe that respect for people's religious identity and belief is an important part of respect for their human dignity, just as I believe that respect for their sexual, gender, and racial identities (and many others) are.

So where do you stand on white supremacism, in cases where it's a sincerely held belief that the believers feel to be a core part of their personal identity?

Do you deem White Christian Identity Theology just as worthy of respect? Or do you just make a special pleading for the major religions?


I make no claim for the objective truth of such personal identity; indeed, one's personal identity is by definition subjective. But, as I said above, I do not value only things that are objective.

I also value many things that are subjective, when those things are objectively worthy of value.


Quote
And from my perspective, not vilifying people for personal attributes that they cannot change seems like a good place to start.

The problem is when you make that not your starting point, but your ending point.

It's not my "ending point." That's quite the glib deepity, but it's just as meaningless as all that happy horse shit you said about beliefs being "fundamental to being."

You still haven't explained what that's even supposed to mean. I can't believe I'm reading such drivel coming from the administrator of a Web forum ostensibly dedicated to skepticism.

I'm inclined to think you're just playing Devil's Advocate to troll me. Or maybe you're just too self-righteous to admit you're wrong.


Throughout this conversation you have repeatedly dismissed the value of things like beliefs and feelings on the ground that they are not immutable or objective.

No I have not. I have only advocated for the criticism of unreasonable ideas and beliefs that cause actual real world harm.

I have assessed the objective, real world harm caused by those bad ideologies as being exceedingly more important than any imaginary harm that believers might feel from having their beliefs challenged.


In doing so, you reject a large portion of what it means to be human as something unworthy of consideration or respect.

Bullshit. I have done no such thing.

Maybe the oppression, persecution and marginalization of target groups for nonsensical, imaginary reasons is indeed "a large portion of what it means to be human."

But maybe, just maybe, we as a species will someday manage to reject those vile, benighted delusions and make a more equitable and peaceful future for our descendents. Your arguments are not encouraging, but I still have hope.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 11:13:00 AM by John Albert »