Author Topic: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?  (Read 3333 times)

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Offline Billzbub

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2019, 12:45:08 PM »
My first wife believed that fairies were real among other things.  She told me after we got divorced that she couldn't stand imaging what I must think of her because I don't believe fairies are real.  She took it as a personal insult and felt that I thought she was silly and stupid because I thought her belief was silly and stupid.  When I she told me that, I immediately saw that she was correct.  How could she not feel judged when she can tell I think her belief (and therefor her) is silly.  I did not realize at the time that criticizing her belief was criticizing her because I was looking at it only from my point of view, not from hers.  (On a side note, don't marry someone who has silly beliefs.)

Also, beliefs are generally not a choice.  I cannot suddenly choose to believe that the Christian Bible is the literal word of God.  I cannot do it.  For people who genuinely hold the belief that the Christian Bible is the literal word of God, they can't just choose to not believe it anymore.  Sure, things can happen to them that change their beliefs, or they could do some research and figure it out on their own, but while they believe it, it is not a choice.

So, someone that believes that the Christian Bible is the literal word of God can read between the lines when you say the idea is poppycock that you think they are poppycock for believing it.  They know you didn't insult them directly and may not be justified in saying that you are criticizing them personally, but they feel insulted none the less.  To them, it is as if you attacked them, even though that is not what you meant to do.

It seems as if you are only thinking about this from the point of view of the criticizer.  "I did not specifically criticize the person, so they have no right to feel criticized".  However, if you could look at it from the point of view of the person with the belief, you might understand that your criticism of their belief does in fact criticize them whether that was your intent or not.

All that said, I agree with The Latinist that obviously, criticizing beliefs is important even though someone might feel personally criticized by it.  People who sincerely believe that vaccines do more harm than good can suck it when I criticize their dumb-ass anti-vax stance.  I know I am offending them when I criticize their sincerely-held ideas.  I still value them as human beings, but they don't know that, and it is worth it because beliefs like that must be fought regardless off the offense that it causes.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2019, 01:38:46 PM »
Indeed, that should have said, "I did not claim that criticism of religious ideas was 'functionally equivalent' to criticism of race, gender or sexuality or that it was in any other way equivalent except that such criticisms may be equally personal. I don't know how much clearer I can be than that."

Okay, that's what I was thinking you meant, but I didn't want to reply on that presumption.

They're not "functionally equivalent," but you still believe they can be just as personal. I don't think I would go even that far.

If somebody has that much of a bug up their ass about other people questioning their beliefs, then the problem does not lie with the questioner.


I have spoken both of attacks and criticism, and perhaps I am remiss if I have seemed to use them interchangeably. To be clear, I recognize that not all criticisms are attacks, and I did not mean to imply otherwise.

Okay, that makes sense to me. We might even find common agreement about the circumstances under which a given criticism could be reasonably construed as a personal attack.


Also, to be clear, to say the criticism is personal is not the same as saying that it is an attack.

Agreed.

One might say, "I like that suit, but maybe try on the blue and gold tie instead." That approach would be less offensive than saying, "You look like a tawdry buffoon in that bright red tie."


I do not believe that I have made any claims about 'respect' and 'moral considerations'. I believe that I have been punctilious in avoiding such claims, because they are quite irrelevant to the question of how personal a criticism is.

I didn't say you made any claims about 'respect' or 'moral considerations'. But I consider issues pertaining to people's personal dignity and avoiding insult to be a type of moral consideration. 


To be clear, I do not claim that all beliefs are equally worthy of respect, and I am not sure where you get that idea.

Okay, I did not say that either. I said that your statements appear to reckon beliefs as equally worthy of respect as the actual human beings who entertain them.

I tend to respect other people because I understand they're sapient humans just like me. But I don't extend the same respect to ideas and beliefs. Ideas and beliefs are nothing more than information, open to judgment according to considerations like factual accuracy, valid reasoning, and potential benefit to society. The idea of holding sacrosanct some unreasonable belief makes no sense to me, so whenever possible I try to influence people to disengage from those kinds of delusions.


Much of a white supremacist's personal identity is tied up in the belief that he is, because of his race, superior to others. This belief may be so all-consuming that it forms the core of his sense of self, is the basis of his self-esteem, and underpins his understanding of everything he experiences. It is, to him, so foundational that any criticism of the idea--any suggestion of racial equality, etc.--causes great metal and emotional distress as well as cognitive dissonance.  He may react with anger, rage, or even violence because the ideas you expressed are not to him mere abstractions; they cut at the core of his sense of self-worth.

To be clear: his beliefs are wrong. They are harmful. They are morally bankrupt. Your criticisms are just and justified. You don't merely have a right to make them, you have a moral obligation to make them.  That should be clear.

But your criticisms are also personal. They strike at the very core of his (admittedly morally bankrupt) sense of himself. He needs to hear them, he needs to change. But in confronting him with these ideas you should not pretend that you are simply discussing abstractions with no personal implications. To do so is fundamentally to misunderstand the nature of your interaction.

Should you care that your criticisms are personal and affect him personally? Perhaps not; that is a question of values. Certainly it should not prevent you from confronting him about his horrific ideas, and it wouldn't prevent me from doing so. But I would do so knowing full well that my attacks on his ideas were unavoidably personal; I would understand that fact and therefore understand his reactions to my criticisms and why my criticisms likely would fall on deaf ears.

I just don't see the point in denying that.

OK, I see that. But if I were to politely and dispassionately point out the errors in his wrong, harmful, and morally bankrupt beliefs, would he be justified to accuse me of a personal attack against him?

I think not. Criticizing his ideas is not a personal attack against him. He may perceive it that way, but that's a consequence of his own inability or unwillingness to be reasonable about this particular subject.

But if I, and enough of the people around him, persist in criticizing his toxic beliefs and introduce him to some friendly, accepting, and honorable nonwhite people, there's a good chance he will change his mind and disavow his racism. It happens. I have seen it happen (and participated in making it happen) to people I know.

Then again if we refrain from addressing these issues out of respect for his culture or fear of causing insult, then he will continue to harbor those toxic beliefs unchallenged and will probably indoctrinate others into his antisocial worldview. 


I don't really think that your π example is really on point, but let me offer an alternative extreme example...

Please don't worry about whether my example is "on point." Please just indulge me for a moment by answering the questions, and trust my intention to take it to a logical conclusion.

Say I'm going around teaching school kids that π equals exactly 3 and they must argue that point against any teachers who try to tell them any different.

If you were to challenge me on that, would I be justified in accusing you of personally attacking me?
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 04:16:48 AM by John Albert »

Offline Billzbub

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2019, 01:49:10 PM »
Criticizing his ideas is not a personal attack against him. He may perceive it that way, but that's a consequence of his own inability or unwillingness to be reasonable about this particular subject.

Now we are getting on the same page.  To the criticizer, it is not personal, but to the criticizee, it is.  So now we get back to The Latinist's original comment that we as criticizers should not pretend that, to the criticizee, it isn't personal.
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2019, 04:38:30 PM »
If somebody has that much of a bug up their ass about other people questioning their beliefs, then the problem does not lie with the questioner.

When did I say that there was a 'problem' that lay with anyone?  All I said was that the criticism was personal.  I didn't lay blame or say that anyone had to do anything with that knowledge other than that they should acknowledge that fact.


Quote
To be clear, I do not claim that all beliefs are equally worthy of respect, and I am not sure where you get that idea.

Okay, I did not say that either. I said that your statements appear to reckon beliefs as equally worthy of respect as the actual human beings who entertain them.

My statements, for what seems like the thousand-and-first time, reckon ONLY that criticisms of belief may be as personal as criticisms of other human characteristics. They have absolutely nothing to do with worthiness of respect at all.

Quote
I tend to respect other people because I understand they're sapient humans just like me. But I don't extend the same respect to ideas and beliefs. Ideas and beliefs are nothing more than information, open to judgment according to considerations like factual accuracy, valid reasoning, and potential benefit to society. The idea of holding sacrosanct some unreasonable belief makes no sense to me, so whenever possible I try to influence people to disengage from those kinds of delusions.

Okay. But this is utterly irrelevant to any point I have made. I have not said that you had to respect anyone's ideas or beliefs. I have said ONLY that you should acknowledge that criticism of them may be personal.

Quote
Much of a white supremacist's personal identity is tied up in the belief that he is, because of his race, superior to others. This belief may be so all-consuming that it forms the core of his sense of self, is the basis of his self-esteem, and underpins his understanding of everything he experiences. It is, to him, so foundational that any criticism of the idea--any suggestion of racial equality, etc.--causes great metal and emotional distress as well as cognitive dissonance.  He may react with anger, rage, or even violence because the ideas you expressed are not to him mere abstractions; they cut at the core of his sense of self-worth.

To be clear: his beliefs are wrong. They are harmful. They are morally bankrupt. Your criticisms are just and justified. You don't merely have a right to make them, you have a moral obligation to make them.  That should be clear.

But your criticisms are also personal. They strike at the very core of his (admittedly morally bankrupt) sense of himself. He needs to hear them, he needs to change. But in confronting him with these ideas you should not pretend that you are simply discussing abstractions with no personal implications. To do so is fundamentally to misunderstand the nature of your interaction.

Should you care that your criticisms are personal and affect him personally? Perhaps not; that is a question of values. Certainly it should not prevent you from confronting him about his horrific ideas, and it wouldn't prevent me from doing so. But I would do so knowing full well that my attacks on his ideas were unavoidably personal; I would understand that fact and therefore understand his reactions to my criticisms and why my criticisms likely would fall on deaf ears.

I just don't see the point in denying that.

OK, I see that. But if I were to politely and dispassionately point out the errors in his wrong, harmful, and morally bankrupt beliefs, would he be justified to accuse me of a personal attack against him?

I think not. Criticizing his ideas is not a personal attack against him. He may perceive it that way, but that's a consequence of his own inability or unwillingness to be reasonable about this particular subject.

But if I, and enough of the people around him, persist in criticizing his toxic beliefs and introduce him to some friendly, accepting, and honorable nonwhite people, there's a good chance he will change his mind and disavow his racism. It happens. I have seen it happen (and participated in making it happen) to people I know.

Then again if we refrain from addressing these issues out of respect for his culture or fear of causing insult, then he will continue to harbor those toxic beliefs unchallenged and will probably indoctrinate others into his antisocial worldview.

Again you are arguing against something I have never said. The ONLY think I have said is that you should recognize that your criticisms may be personal. And, yes, this may be true no matter how politely you criticize and no matter your intention; how personal criticism is depends almost exclusively upon how that criticism is received.

Quote
I don't really think that your π example is really on point, but let me offer an alternative extreme example...

Please don't worry about whether my example is "on point." Please just indulge me for a moment by answering the questions, and trust my intention to take it to a logical conclusion.

Say I'm going around teaching school kids that π equals exactly 3 and they must argue that point against any teachers who try to tell them any different.

If you were to challenge me on that, would I be justified in accusing you of personally attacking me?

I have not made and do not make any claim about the justification of anyone accusing anyone of anything. That you are hung up on that matter is not my problem.

Criticizing his ideas is not a personal attack against him. He may perceive it that way, but that's a consequence of his own inability or unwillingness to be reasonable about this particular subject.

Now we are getting on the same page.  To the criticizer, it is not personal, but to the criticizee, it is.  So now we get back to The Latinist's original comment that we as criticizers should not pretend that, to the criticizee, it isn't personal.

I would go further: I would say that the intent of the criticizer is irrelevant to the question of whether such criticism is personal.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2019, 08:44:50 PM »
I've been in a position when I've criticised American cultural imperialism - the fact that America floods the world with its own popular culture, exporting its content wholesale and flooding overseas markets. And Americans have taken that very personally. I say "I'm not criticising you, I'm criticising your country and your country's policy". But it doesn't help.

Same thing.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2019, 01:46:16 PM »
I've been in a position when I've criticised American cultural imperialism - the fact that America floods the world with its own popular culture, exporting its content wholesale and flooding overseas markets. And Americans have taken that very personally. I say "I'm not criticising you, I'm criticising your country and your country's policy". But it doesn't help.

Same thing.

Not the subject of the thread, but that's a kinda silly criticism. If you don't want to consume American culture, you don't have to. You object to others doing that, which is not possible to take seriously, for me anyways. If there was no popular demand for American popular culture, it wouldn't be consumed abroad. It's like those who protest against cultural globalization because they want other parts of the world to be exotic museums for them to visit. Which I don't have any symoathy with at all. It's a condescending view of others to take.

I'm not sure it is only the "fault" of the US. At least here in Sweden, historically, Germany was by far the biggest cultural influence. The larger medieval Swedish cities were almost as German as they were Swedish. The reason our language is the way it is rather than like Icelandic is largely through the German influence. Lots of Germans migrated here over the centuries. I would be surprised if I don't have some German ancestors down the line.

In the 20th century this was changed. The government moved us away from German as the primary foreign language in school, and toward English, which was completed in 1946. And with that, coupled with the Anglo-American victory of WW2, that cultural influence became the dominant one.

I can't speak for other countries, but I would not be surprised if there are similar cases of the governments moving them in the Anglo-American direction.
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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2019, 06:34:17 PM »
I've been in a position when I've criticised American cultural imperialism - the fact that America floods the world with its own popular culture, exporting its content wholesale and flooding overseas markets. And Americans have taken that very personally. I say "I'm not criticising you, I'm criticising your country and your country's policy". But it doesn't help.

Same thing.

Not the subject of the thread, but that's a kinda silly criticism. If you don't want to consume American culture, you don't have to. You object to others doing that, which is not possible to take seriously, for me anyways. If there was no popular demand for American popular culture, it wouldn't be consumed abroad. It's like those who protest against cultural globalization because they want other parts of the world to be exotic museums for them to visit. Which I don't have any symoathy with at all. It's a condescending view of others to take.

I'm not sure it is only the "fault" of the US. At least here in Sweden, historically, Germany was by far the biggest cultural influence. The larger medieval Swedish cities were almost as German as they were Swedish. The reason our language is the way it is rather than like Icelandic is largely through the German influence. Lots of Germans migrated here over the centuries. I would be surprised if I don't have some German ancestors down the line.

In the 20th century this was changed. The government moved us away from German as the primary foreign language in school, and toward English, which was completed in 1946. And with that, coupled with the Anglo-American victory of WW2, that cultural influence became the dominant one.

I can't speak for other countries, but I would not be surprised if there are similar cases of the governments moving them in the Anglo-American direction.

You're right, this isn't the subject of the thread, except as a parallel example.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 06:39:18 PM by arthwollipot »
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2019, 01:45:36 PM »
When did I say that there was a 'problem' that lay with anyone?

You didn't say there's a problem with that. I'm saying that under certain circumstances there may be a problem.

If I express an impersonal criticism of an idea and another person feels personally attacked, that is not a transgression on my part but a misunderstanding on their part.

Like if somebody took offense at a math teacher correcting them about the value of π, their feelings of offense would be ill-founded. In that case the math teacher is not at fault for causing offense, because the teacher did not actually attack the student. It's unreasonable to claim victimhood on the basis that you're being attacked just because somebody corrects your thinking or expresses ideas that conflict with your own.


All I said was that the criticism was personal.

If you're saying that all criticisms are personal if some individual feels they're personal, that's a sweeping generalization.

Just because somebody feels personally attacked, that does not make it so. Feelings are not always consistent with objective reality.

Whether a given criticism is "personal" depends on whether the criticism is directed at somebody personally, and whether it's an "attack" would depend on whether that criticism is intended to harm or malign the target.

For example:

If I say, "Ken Ham is an unscrupulous, conniving idiot," that would be a personal attack on Ken Ham. It directly disparages his personal qualities.

If I say "Ken Ham's beliefs about biology and geoscience are inconsistent with established science," that is a fact-based criticism of Ken Ham's own personal beliefs. It is a criticism of beliefs, but it's still personal because it targets Ken Ham personally.

If I phrase it in a more disparaging way, like, "Ken Ham's beliefs about biology and geoscience are stupid," that's also a personal attack on Ken Ham.

But it I were to say, "Young Earth Creationism is contrary to all scientific evidence in the fields of biology and geoscience," that is not a personal attack on Ken Ham. That is a criticism of an established set of beliefs.

Regardless whether Ken Ham may feel a personal connection to Young Earth Creationism, that still does not mean that my criticism of the ideology of Young Earth Creationism really amounts to a personal attack on Ken Ham himself.


My statements, for what seems like the thousand-and-first time, reckon ONLY that criticisms of belief may be as personal as criticisms of other human characteristics.

That would depend on the nature of the personal characteristic being criticized, and might also depend on how the criticism is phrased. Criticisms of such fundamental characteristics as race, sex, nationality, etc., are always inherently personal. Criticisms of ideologies and cultural norms may be personal, but not necessarily.

For example:

If I say, "Caucasians are inherently racist," "Americans are belligerent," or "men use force to dominate others," those are inescapably personal criticisms. But if I say, "European Christian culture has historically dominated and oppressed other cultures through the use of violence and ideological indoctrination," that's not necessarily personal.

If I say, "Libertarians are idiots," that is undoubtedly a personal attack on people who self-identify as libertarian. But if I say, "many libertarian principles are detrimental to the establishment of a functional society," that is a criticism of an ideology, not a personal attack on any particular group or individual.


Much of a white supremacist's personal identity is tied up in the belief that he is, because of his race, superior to others. This belief may be so all-consuming that it forms the core of his sense of self, is the basis of his self-esteem, and underpins his understanding of everything he experiences. It is, to him, so foundational that any criticism of the idea--any suggestion of racial equality, etc.--causes great metal and emotional distress as well as cognitive dissonance.  He may react with anger, rage, or even violence because the ideas you expressed are not to him mere abstractions; they cut at the core of his sense of self-worth.

To be clear: his beliefs are wrong. They are harmful. They are morally bankrupt. Your criticisms are just and justified. You don't merely have a right to make them, you have a moral obligation to make them.  That should be clear.

But your criticisms are also personal. They strike at the very core of his (admittedly morally bankrupt) sense of himself. He needs to hear them, he needs to change. But in confronting him with these ideas you should not pretend that you are simply discussing abstractions with no personal implications. To do so is fundamentally to misunderstand the nature of your interaction.

If this is a situation where I'm engaged in conversation with a particular man about his personal beliefs, then yeah I agree. That is a very personal situation. Even if we're having a discussion on an Internet message board, the fact that we're engaged in discussion with one another makes it more personal than if I were just writing a piece for general publication.

If I'm writing, say, an academic paper or public blog post about the social dangers of white supremacist ideology, that's a criticism of ideas. It's not a personal attack on any particular group or individual.

 
how personal criticism is depends almost exclusively upon how that criticism is received.

I disagree there. Criticisms are interactions between individuals. As such, they involve more than just one person. So different people can have different opinions as to whether, or to what degree, a given criticism may be "personal."


I would say that the intent of the criticizer is irrelevant to the question of whether such criticism is personal.

This is incorrect. Everybody participating in the interaction, including the criticizer and any passive witnesses, are all entitled to their own opinions as to how personal a given criticism may be. I don't think it's fair or productive to default to the least charitable interpretation of a given argument.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 02:34:26 PM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2019, 02:04:06 PM »
I've been in a position when I've criticised American cultural imperialism - the fact that America floods the world with its own popular culture, exporting its content wholesale and flooding overseas markets. And Americans have taken that very personally. I say "I'm not criticising you, I'm criticising your country and your country's policy". But it doesn't help.

Same thing.

I wouldn't take that personally at all. That's a criticism of my country's culture, its industries and economic policies. It's not a personal criticism against me as some random American citizen. I would say that the people reacting that way are being quite unreasonable. 

Now if you said, "Americans are imperialists," I can see where somebody might take that as a personal insult.

The same goes with criticizing the policies of the State of Israel. Many people consider those criticisms as antisemitic, and many Jews seem to construe those criticisms as personal attacks against themselves and threats against their own personal safety. I think that's also quite unreasonable. If that were true then the politics of the State of Israel would be above criticism, lest the criticizer be unfairly smeared as an antisemite.

This difference between actual attacks and perceived attacks is a very important distinction to make, because it has very real implications for public discourse. We already have enough problems with bad ideas propagating in the Internet age. We ought to be promoting values of fair discourse and critical thinking, instead of encouraging claims to victimhood in defense of untenable ideas.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 03:33:07 PM by John Albert »

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2019, 08:30:41 PM »
At this point, John, I think we’ve gone as far as we can. You at least seem to have stepped back from the mischaracterizations and lies of your earlier posts and are no longer arguing against points I didn’t make. There remains only a fundamental disagreement between us about what it means for an attack or criticism to be personal, a difference of opinion which, like our disagreement on the nature of subjectivity and objectivity, cannot be bridged. Indeed, I suspect that the disagreements are fundamentally connected.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2019, 02:12:14 PM »
I agree with your statement that some people might perceive criticism of their religion as a personal insult, and we must take it into consideration when deciding whether the criticism is worth the potential hurt feelings.

Where I disagree, is with your claims that all criticism of religion is a personal attack on believers, and criticizing an ideology like religion is just as personal as racism or misogyny.

Ideologies are not people. Beliefs and feelings can be untrue. Beliefs and feelings are not static; they can be changed.
 
So instead of cautioning skeptics against criticizing irrational and harmful ideologies for the sake of sparing feelings, we ought to be trying to promote critical thinking and the questioning of beliefs, so that someday everybody may learn not to take such offense at having their beliefs questioned.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 02:35:35 PM by John Albert »

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2019, 02:35:56 PM »
And there you go again attributing things I have never said to me. You continue to argue against a bogeyman of your own invention rather the actual ideas I’ve expressed.  It’s enough to make me wonder if you’ve got a guilty conscience that raises up these specters before you; certainly it is not I who do.

To be clear, I have never made either of the following claims you attribute to me:

1. That “all criticism of religion therefore defaults to a personal attack on believers”
2. That “criticizing an ideology like religion” is any kind of “offense.”

I have also neither implied that beliefs cannot be untrue, nor that beliefs and feelings are static.

Finally, I have not “caution[ed] skeptics against criticizing irrational and harmful ideologies for the sake of sparing feelings.”

I do wish you’d stop making shit up to argue against when I’ve offered you a perfectly good real argument against which to do so.

I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2019, 02:41:25 PM »
To be clear, I have never made either of the following claims you attribute to me:

1. That “all criticism of religion therefore defaults to a personal attack on believers”
2. That “criticizing an ideology like religion” is any kind of “offense.”

Gee, I wonder where I might have gotten those ideas. Maybe from the post where you said:

         
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

Am I wrong to construe, "denouncing those ideas is denouncing those who hold those ideas," to mean criticism of religion defaults to a personal attack on believers?

When somebody "feels personally attacked" or "denounced," isn't that synonymous with an "offense?"


I have also neither implied that beliefs cannot be untrue, nor that beliefs and feelings are static.

I didn't accuse you of implying either statement. Those sentences were offered as an explanation for my line of reasoning.


Finally, I have not “caution[ed] skeptics against criticizing irrational and harmful ideologies for the sake of sparing feelings.”

Is, "you have to accept that denouncing those ideas is denouncing those who hold those ideas," not a caution against criticizing religion for the sake of sparing feelings?


By the way:

our disagreement on the nature of subjectivity and objectivity

I don't think we're necessarily in disagreement about the nature of subjectivity or objectivity. Not to spill our previous discussion about objective morality over into this thread, but our disagreement in that discussion stemmed from your own intractibility about the idea that an "objective moral system" could possibly mean anything other than a metaphysical set of principles that all intelligent beings in the universe must acknowledge as morally right and true. My position is that an "objective moral system" could also mean something as mundane as a code of law established by some human authority, by which all subjects under its jurisdiction are legally bound whether they like it or not.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 01:27:04 AM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2019, 06:17:42 PM »
Attention mods: the discussion in this thread has sharply veered off-topic starting with Reply #35.

I'm feeling that the tangent is well worth preserving in its own thread in the Religion / Philosophy Talk subforum. Perhaps a good title for the new thread might be: "Does criticism of religion amount to a personal attack on the faithful?"

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Does Criticism of Religion Amount to an Attack on the Faithful?
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2019, 08:59:51 PM »
I strongly object to this discussion being stripped of its context in that manner.  Conversations evolve, and it is not always necessary or advisable to attempt to force them into a box.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

 

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