Skeptics Guide to the Universe Forums

General Discussions => Religion / Philosophy Talk => Topic started by: Quetzalcoatl on April 13, 2019, 09:47:54 AM

Title: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on April 13, 2019, 09:47:54 AM
From a question that was sent in to The Humanist: The Humanist Dilemma: Does 1 Committed Christian + 1 Staunch Atheist = 1 Happy Couple? (https://thehumanist.com/news/all/the-humanist-dilemma-does-1-committed-christian-1-staunch-atheist-1-happy-couple)

The question starts:

Quote
My girlfriend and I have very different religious views. I’m humanist and she’s Christian. We are also very firm in our respective beliefs. I haven’t brought up Unitarian Universalism yet, but I doubt she’d feel comfortable with it. Our religious differences don’t present a problem for 99 percent of our interactions, but there are a few spots where it causes friction.

The first conflict that came up was infant baptism. I’m about 60 percent certain I don’t want that for any future children, while she definitely wants it. I don’t know what to think about that one. It isn’t an issue now, but it will need to be addressed because it will likely be an issue within the next decade. What are some perspectives I should look at to help me choose how big of a deal it is or isn’t for me?

The answer includes:

Quote
Although I usually try not to be negative, I predict going forward you’ll find your overwhelmingly happy percentages slipping as the unhappy fractions grow in significance. When people are already married, and particularly when they have children, my advice leans heavily toward finding ways to work things out together. But when that isn’t the case yet, I’m inclined to suggest a pivot toward the exit.

Now is the time to find relationships that truly work for each of you, even if that isn’t one that works for both of you together. You’re both facing compromises on things you hold dear, and setting up win/lose scenarios. This will only intensify with children who will/won’t be baptized—and then how will they be raised?

(Click the link for the full question and answer.)

In short, because of the religious differences between the questioner and his girlfriend, him being an atheist/humanist, she being a Christian, he is being advised to end the relationship, because the minor tensions the couple experiences now are likely to get significantly worse in the future.

Do you think this is proper? Are religious differences a potential doom for relationships, or can differences be worked out? I guess it depends on how religious the religious person is.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on April 13, 2019, 11:20:16 AM
It's actually fairly common (nowhere near a majority, but common enough) in Mexico for couples to be mixed Catholic/atheist. I think such couples can have a successful marriage if they respect each other. Of course, the thing about baptism is that the partner who does not want the kids baptized is at a big disadvantage because the other partner can take them with nobody the wiser. I'd have advised the atheist: Your spouse is going to get the kids baptised. All you can do is teach them critical thinking and that religion is all bullshit. They need to have a full and open and honest discussion before the marriage.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Ron Obvious on April 13, 2019, 11:39:11 AM
Seems sad. Who cares about Baptism? It's just a ritual with some water spilled about.  Seems like an easy compromise to make to me.

Now circumcision on the other hand...
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on April 13, 2019, 04:15:42 PM
It's all pretty disgusting, if it's taken seriously. Infants being treated as if they're going to be tortured forever if the parents don't brainwash them properly, and then the parents along with other adults sing praises for this entity.

God made you wrong, and it's your fault.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Ron Obvious on April 13, 2019, 05:22:54 PM
It's all pretty disgusting, if it's taken seriously. Infants being treated as if they're going to be tortured forever if the parents don't brainwash them properly, and then the parents along with other adults sing praises for this entity.

God made you wrong, and it's your fault.

True, but that - in my experience - is more of an American thing. Mainstream European Christians, and many in the US, don't talk or think like that. Hell, if it exists at all, is only where extremely evil people go is more like it.

If the Christian in question is of the extremist type, I would advise the atheist to run and certainly not procreate with this person.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on April 14, 2019, 11:04:45 AM
Seems sad. Who cares about Baptism? It's just a ritual with some water spilled about.  Seems like an easy compromise to make to me.

Yeah, but that "holy water" has been found often to be filthy with disease-causing microbes of all sorts, from people sticking their dirty fingers in it all day long.  ::)
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Ah.hell on April 15, 2019, 09:54:02 AM
Seems sad. Who cares about Baptism? It's just a ritual with some water spilled about.  Seems like an easy compromise to make to me.

Yeah, but that "holy water" has been found often to be filthy with disease-causing microbes of all sorts, from people sticking their dirty fingers in it all day long.  ::)
What's the actual risk?   I'd say they shouldn't get married primarily because the atheist seems to an uncompromising jerk.  I think the advice was pretty sound.  If babtism is problem, that's a sign of many things to come and they should probably reconsider their plans.

Evidence strongly shows that for long term success, how to raise children and how to handle money are at the top of the list of things you need to agree on. 
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on April 15, 2019, 11:28:26 AM
I'd say they shouldn't get married primarily because the atheist seems to an uncompromising jerk.

Doesn't seem to me like the atheist boyfriend is the "uncompromising" one in this case. He says he's "about 60 percent certain" he doesn't want his kids baptized into religion, but the Christian girlfriend is determined to have them baptized. He's clearly more flexible on that issue. Then there's the story about how she tried to guilt him with "lonely" feelings because he wasn't sufficiently moved by her religious music. Sounds to me like a religious freak being a total buzzkill about somebody not sharing her enthusiasm for Jesus.

Having a religious partner is not necessarily a dealbreaker per se, but when they're dragging you to Christian music concerts and expecting you to act all transcendent about it... we all have our limits.


I think the advice was pretty sound.  If babtism is problem, that's a sign of many things to come and they should probably reconsider their plans.

I generally find these relationship advice columns a bit too heavyhanded about giving advice to total strangers after only hearing one side of the story, but in this case I totally agree. These two should definitely not have children together.


Evidence strongly shows that for long term success, how to raise children and how to handle money are at the top of the list of things you need to agree on.

Whether it's wise to squander the family funds on weekly tithes to a scam organization, and whether the children are raised to subjugate themselves to imaginary enslavement under an abusive, supernatural sky daddy; those are two very big sticking points.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on April 16, 2019, 05:03:57 AM
I agree that for the sake of future children, it would be better to split than to make them a part of your disagreements. Another option is to not have children. Although differences in how important it is to have children is also a good reason to split.

If baptizing a child is a compromise, what's the other side of that compromise? If it's between indoctrinating and not indoctrinating a child into a religion.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: SnarlPatrick on June 20, 2019, 05:51:24 PM
This answer doesn't show much confidence in the ability of the couple to live and let live or agree to disagree.

I agree that for the sake of future children, it would be better to split than to make them a part of your disagreements. Another option is to not have children. Although differences in how important it is to have children is also a good reason to split.

If baptizing a child is a compromise, what's the other side of that compromise? If it's between indoctrinating and not indoctrinating a child into a religion.

The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on June 24, 2019, 06:26:12 AM
The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.

A reasonable compromise would be to hold off on baptism until the kid is old enough to decide whether they want to be baptized.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on June 24, 2019, 11:44:17 AM
The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.

A reasonable compromise would be to hold off on baptism until the kid is old enough to decide whether they want to be baptized.

Some Christian denominations (the Anabaptist groups) do exactly that. Babies are not baptized. They are, of course, indoctrinated, and then when they reach a certain age they decide for themselves whether to be baptized or not. If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated. Instead, see to it that the child is taught about all the major world religions, and any minor religions the child expresses an interest in.

I am of the opinion that if every child were taught about all religions at a very young age (and no one religion before all the others) we would greatly reduce the prevalence of religious fanaticism and stupidity.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on June 24, 2019, 01:11:42 PM
The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.

A reasonable compromise would be to hold off on baptism until the kid is old enough to decide whether they want to be baptized.

Some Christian denominations (the Anabaptist groups) do exactly that. Babies are not baptized. They are, of course, indoctrinated, and then when they reach a certain age they decide for themselves whether to be baptized or not. If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated. Instead, see to it that the child is taught about all the major world religions, and any minor religions the child expresses an interest in.

I am of the opinion that if every child were taught about all religions at a very young age (and no one religion before all the others) we would greatly reduce the prevalence of religious fanaticism and stupidity.

You should also teach them about skepticism, critical thinking, science, history, and society.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on June 24, 2019, 06:55:55 PM
If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated.

If you have no interest in indoctrinating the kid into Christianity, why baptize at all?
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on June 25, 2019, 12:10:37 PM
You should also teach them about skepticism, critical thinking, science, history, and society.

Agreed 100%.

If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated.

If you have no interest in indoctrinating the kid into Christianity, why baptize at all?

The premise is that I've married a woman who is religious, and some compromise is needed. Better to sprinkle the kid with water than indoctrinate them into irrational beliefs. My compromise to my hypothetical wife is: You can have the kid sprinkled with water and teach the kid what you believe, and I'll bring in people to teach the kid the beliefs of as many different religions as I can find teachers for as well as science teachers to present what science knows and how science thinks and operates.

To my way of thinking, baptism is a meaningless ritual that doesn't hurt the kid as long as you use clean water rather than filthy font water. When I paddle in a canoe, it's pretty much guaranteed that I'm going to get splashed by the person behind me hitting the water with the paddle on the return swing. IMO that's no different from being baptized except that they're not saying words they regard as magical.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on June 25, 2019, 02:42:31 PM
I would never marry somebody whose values diverged so sharply from mine in the first place.

In this case, I  believe the advice to end the romance was probably correct.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on June 25, 2019, 05:11:57 PM
I would never marry somebody whose values diverged so sharply from mine in the first place.

In this case, I  believe the advice to end the romance was probably correct.

For some people, they might not have such divergent values to begin with, or be aware that they do, because of how religion has been imposed on them. One of them could lose their faith after getting married, or only become confident in their non-belief after spending some time unraveling what they've been conditioned into.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on June 25, 2019, 11:27:14 PM
I would never marry somebody whose values diverged so sharply from mine in the first place.

In this case, I  believe the advice to end the romance was probably correct.

I've known religious people whose values overall were closer to my own than many atheists I've known. I've known liberation-theology Catholics with whom I disagreed only on the question of whether or not there's a magic man in the sky. And my smoke-free, teetotal lifestyle is closer to some Christians than it is to most of the atheists I know. So, yeah, it ain't gonna happen now, at my age, but I could have seen marrying a liberal, humanist Christian woman who didn't smoke or drink and who opposed war and racism and homophobia, but who wanted her kids baptized to please her imaginary friend in the sky.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: The Latinist on June 26, 2019, 12:54:18 AM
It is my understanding, Daniel, that the rite of baptism of infants involves a commitment on the part of the parents to instruct the child in the practices of the faith.you may not feel that the baptism would have any spiritual affect upon the child, but would you be comfortable making such a commitment with no intention of keeping it?
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on June 26, 2019, 07:16:07 AM
Even despite giving lip service to a vow to indoctrinate my newborn into the tenets of the faith, I'd consider it fundamentally dishonest to baptize my child into a religion in which I do not believe.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on June 26, 2019, 12:06:13 PM
It is my understanding, Daniel, that the rite of baptism of infants involves a commitment on the part of the parents to instruct the child in the practices of the faith.you may not feel that the baptism would have any spiritual affect upon the child, but would you be comfortable making such a commitment with no intention of keeping it?

I would not lie to my hypothetical wife about my intentions, but I'd happily lie to a priest or preacher. I know of a case of a woman who pretended to convert to Catholicism so that her mother-in-law would not fear that her son would go to hell for marrying a non-Catholic. (Even though the son was an atheist and a Communist.) This woman flat-out lied to the Priest. I think she did right because she assuaged the fears of her mother-in-law.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on June 26, 2019, 12:57:13 PM
Seemingly a lot of parents lie about their beliefs to get their kids into religious schools, in particular in the UK.

https://humanism.org.uk/2018/09/13/new-research-finds-pretending-to-be-religious-is-most-common-form-of-school-admissions-cheating/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/i-faked-religion-to-find-a-school-2093403.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/12/desperate-parents-are-bribing-priests-with-muffins-our-faith-school-system-must-end
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: The Latinist on June 26, 2019, 02:11:55 PM
I do not consider a vow to be something I do to other people, but something I take upon my self.  I would not make such a vow without the intent to fulfill it.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on June 26, 2019, 02:14:03 PM
Seemingly a lot of parents lie about their beliefs to get their kids into religious schools, in particular in the UK.

https://humanism.org.uk/2018/09/13/new-research-finds-pretending-to-be-religious-is-most-common-form-of-school-admissions-cheating/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/i-faked-religion-to-find-a-school-2093403.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/12/desperate-parents-are-bribing-priests-with-muffins-our-faith-school-system-must-end

I think this is a specific issue in the UK, due to their education system giving religious organizations undue influence.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on June 26, 2019, 06:14:51 PM
I do not consider a vow to be something I do to other people, but something I take upon my self.  I would not make such a vow without the intent to fulfill it.

I take my promises seriously. But there are situations when I would break a promise and feel no regret:

When an unreasonable demand is made under duress, I would not regard the promise to be binding. If a woman I loved wanted us to be married in a church and the priest or minister would not perform it unless I made a promise to lie to my children, I would make the promise and not consider myself bound. I would tell my future wife beforehand that I had no intention of keeping the promise.

Here's an example: Your friend or loved one is dying and asks you to make an unreasonable promise. Do you:

1. Make the promise to ease the suffering of your friend or loved one and then consider yourself released from it when they die?

2. Refuse to make the promise because it is unreasonable, even though it will cause them distress in their final hours of life? Or

3. Make the promise and then keep it, to no purpose, and possibly to the detriment of yourself and others?

I would do (1) and feel I had done the right thing.

A vow is something I take by and for myself in private. A promise is something I make to another person. I do break promises lightly but if it turns out that keeping the promise will cause harm to others I will not blindly keep it. And if someone pressures me under duress to make a promise, I do not consider it binding.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: The Latinist on June 26, 2019, 06:46:24 PM
As I have already said, I would not make a promise I had no intention of keeping.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: daniel1948 on June 26, 2019, 08:43:34 PM
As I have already said, I would not make a promise I had no intention of keeping.

Even if it was a promise that would be impossible or harmful to keep, but making it would ease the suffering of a loved one?
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: AllanGuldager on July 02, 2019, 03:49:50 PM
Well, I do not like that the coloumnist advises on breaking up - instead the answer should be pros and cons with nothing definitive.

Religous practice is more relaxed in Denmark, I think, and lots of people have their kid baptized and are married in a church without being religious, just because it's tradition. The same goes for burials, confirmation and christmas service. Even non-believers uses the church for these events. Well, Denmark is mostly an evangelical lutheran country though, and it is a very non-preachy and relaxed denomination. I know several atheist/religous couples and it works just fine. So if an atheist agrees to have their kids baptized, it is usually tolerable because it's tradition. I think it is that way, because the priest usually is very relaxed about all the religious stuff.

As for the original question, I think they should have a long talk about what they can accept and cannot accept. I know a couple who made a deal: they got married in church, but their kids shouldn't be baptized. If they can find some compromises like that, it is a good sign. But the bigger problem is, that she wants to share the religious experience, and if that's important to her, I can not see how the couple can go on.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 02, 2019, 04:35:47 PM
Religious practice is really laid-back and a private matter in Scandinavian countries. It is unfortunately not so in many other countries.

I get the impression though that Denmark (and Norway) is more religious, or at least more traditionalist, than Sweden. But globally speaking, it would still be considered a very secularized society.

The following book by Phil Zuckerman on the subject can be recommended:

Quote
Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment (https://www.amazon.com/Society-without-God-Religious-Contentment/dp/0814797237)

Before he began his recent travels, it seemed to Phil Zuckerman as if humans all over the globe were “getting religion”—praising deities, performing holy rites, and soberly defending the world from sin. But most residents of Denmark and Sweden, he found, don’t worship any god at all, don’t pray, and don’t give much credence to religious dogma of any kind. Instead of being bastions of sin and corruption, however, as the Christian Right has suggested a godless society would be, these countries are filled with residents who score at the very top of the “happiness index” and enjoy their healthy societies, which boast some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world (along with some of the lowest levels of corruption), excellent educational systems, strong economies, well-supported arts, free health care, egalitarian social policies, outstanding bike paths, and great beer.

Zuckerman formally interviewed nearly 150 Danes and Swedes of all ages and educational backgrounds over the course of fourteen months. He was particularly interested in the worldviews of people who live their lives without religious orientation. How do they think about and cope with death? Are they worried about an afterlife? What he found is that nearly all of his interviewees live their lives without much fear of the Grim Reaper or worries about the hereafter. This led him to wonder how and why it is that certain societies are non-religious in a world that seems to be marked by increasing religiosity. Drawing on prominent sociological theories and his own extensive research, Zuckerman ventures some interesting answers.

This fascinating approach directly counters the claims of outspoken, conservative American Christians who argue that a society without God would be hell on earth. It is crucial, Zuckerman believes, for Americans to know that “society without God is not only possible, but it can be quite civil and pleasant.”

Sometimes an outsider's perspective makes it easier to appreciate what you have. From the book:

Quote from: Phil Zuckerman
In clean and green Scandinavia, few people speak of God, few people spend much time thinking about theological matters, and although their media in recent years has done an unusually large amount of reporting on religion, even this is offered as some sort of attempt to grapple with and make sense of this strange foreign phenomenon out there in the wider world that refuses to disappear, a phenomenon that takes on such dire significance for everyone—except, well, for Danes and Swedes. If there is an earthly heaven for secular folk, contemporary Denmark and Sweden may very well be it: quaint towns, inviting cities, beautiful forests, lonely beaches, healthy democracies, among the lowest violent crime rates in the world, the lowest levels of corruption in the world, excellent educational systems, innovative architecture, strong economies, well-supported arts, successful entrepreneurship, clean hospitals, delicious beer, free health care, maverick filmmaking, egalitarian social policies, sleek design, comfortable bike paths—and not much faith in God.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: AllanGuldager on July 04, 2019, 02:51:50 PM
I get the impression though that Denmark (and Norway) is more religious, or at least more traditionalist, than Sweden. But globally speaking, it would still be considered a very secularized society.
Norway is definetly more religous than Danmark. But it is kinda hard evaluate the extend of religious beliefs in Denmark. In january 2019 74.7% of the population is a member of the Church of Denmark, but there are many non-religious people amongst those. The high membership rate is more because of tradition than religion. When you're baptized, you automatically become a member, and most people uses the church for that, even though they're not religious, but because it's tradition. About 25% (according to the latest poll in 2015) are non-religious, and if you add up the members of the Church of Denmark, the non-religious and other religions like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other christian denomation, you get more than 100% - so lots of non-religious people are member of the Church of Denmark, because of tradition.

The following is a quote from wiki:
According to a Eurobarometer Poll conducted in 2010, 28% of Danish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 47% responded that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 24% responded that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force". Another poll, carried out in 2008, found that 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the son of God, and 18% believe he is the saviour of the world. A gallup report in 2009 found that only 19% of Danes consider religion to be an important part of their life.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on July 12, 2019, 02:06:49 AM
I get the impression though that Denmark (and Norway) is more religious, or at least more traditionalist, than Sweden. But globally speaking, it would still be considered a very secularized society.
Norway is definetly more religous than Danmark. But it is kinda hard evaluate the extend of religious beliefs in Denmark. In january 2019 74.7% of the population is a member of the Church of Denmark, but there are many non-religious people amongst those. The high membership rate is more because of tradition than religion. When you're baptized, you automatically become a member, and most people uses the church for that, even though they're not religious, but because it's tradition. About 25% (according to the latest poll in 2015) are non-religious, and if you add up the members of the Church of Denmark, the non-religious and other religions like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other christian denomation, you get more than 100% - so lots of non-religious people are member of the Church of Denmark, because of tradition.

The following is a quote from wiki:
According to a Eurobarometer Poll conducted in 2010, 28% of Danish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 47% responded that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 24% responded that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force". Another poll, carried out in 2008, found that 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the son of God, and 18% believe he is the saviour of the world. A gallup report in 2009 found that only 19% of Danes consider religion to be an important part of their life.

Not sure how you find it easier to evaluate the extent of religious beliefs in Norway. We have much the same situation with church membership having been so routine and imposed that many atheists don't even know that they're members. Others don't care and it doesn't matter to them. I try to remind people that they can leave online now.

While my very religious sibling left the church to sign up for a more conservative one, and now lives in Denmark with the person they met in Bible school and went on a missionary trip with. They have a worrying number of children together (I'm guessing they don't believe in prevention), that they then send to a private religious primary school.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 13, 2019, 05:51:00 AM
I think Norway is perceived as more religious because the society seems to have more religious influence. For example, stores being closed on Sundays. I have also heard that if you buy an apartment, there are often rules against doing laundry on Sundays. The Church of Norway is also I think more conservative that its Swedish and Danish counterparts. See for example Helvetesdebatten (https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helvetesdebatten). Confirmation is also a big thing in Norway.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on July 14, 2019, 06:45:02 PM
I don't know how the former state churches compare. Though while Norway was the first country of the three to legalize same-sex marriage, the Church of Norway was the last of the churches to allow for it, so maybe that's an indication.

There's no specific rule about not doing laundry on Sundays. We have a law about keeping the peace on Sundays and other holidays. I can't see anything that confirms people aren't allowed to do laundry. It's more lawn mowers and building work that's not allowed. Which I think is good, there's enough noise in society. One day a week where it's possible to sleep in if you have neighbors, I'd change that to two days after we shorten the working week.

Which would be easier to do if we could ditch the remnants of Christianity that's still in the law. Keep the pieces that work, and get rid of the rest.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 15, 2019, 02:05:30 AM
I think Norway is perceived as more religious because the society seems to have more religious influence. For example, stores being closed on Sundays. I have also heard that if you buy an apartment, there are often rules against doing laundry on Sundays. The Church of Norway is also I think more conservative that its Swedish and Danish counterparts. See for example Helvetesdebatten (https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helvetesdebatten). Confirmation is also a big thing in Norway.

This year, I visited both Germany and Chile.  I would have thought that Germany is more secular (although I might be wrong.  Most of its public holidays are religious, although that might be from necessity - it’s difficult to have public holidays commemorating defeats in wars or the birthdays of ex-monarchs), however its supermarkets are generally closed on Sundays, whereas in Chile they’re often open, and even to late hours.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 15, 2019, 11:59:21 AM
I don't think the amount of religion-inspired holidays necessarily determines the religiousity of a country. The information (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Germany) I can find suggests that Germany largely follows the trail of the rest of the Western world, with declining religiousity, especially among the young. A large minority is unaffiliated, and even among those who are religious, a lot of them are only nominally religious, with religion not playing a big role in society, most of the time.

Berlin is reportedly known as "the atheist capital of Europe" (https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/dec/07/where-world-godless-city-religion-atheist):

Quote
These broad generalisations go some way to explain why Berlin has been dubbed the “atheist capital of Europe”. Some 60% of Berliners claim to have no religion, shaped no doubt by the city’s divided heritage. In 2009, a proposal to give religious lessons the same status as ethics classes in Berlin schools was defeated in a referendum. The proposal was backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, but a low turnout of 30% revealed the lack of interest from the capital’s citizens. Ethics classes have been compulsory in the city’s schools since 2006, introduced after a so-called “honour” killing of a Muslim woman by her husband. Before the change, voluntary religious education classes were poorly attended.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 15, 2019, 03:16:33 PM
I don't think the amount of religion-inspired holidays necessarily determines the religiousity of a country. The information (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Germany) I can find suggests that Germany largely follows the trail of the rest of the Western world, with declining religiousity, especially among the young. A large minority is unaffiliated, and even among those who are religious, a lot of them are only nominally religious, with religion not playing a big role in society, most of the time.

Berlin is reportedly known as "the atheist capital of Europe" (https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/dec/07/where-world-godless-city-religion-atheist):

Quote
These broad generalisations go some way to explain why Berlin has been dubbed the “atheist capital of Europe”. Some 60% of Berliners claim to have no religion, shaped no doubt by the city’s divided heritage. In 2009, a proposal to give religious lessons the same status as ethics classes in Berlin schools was defeated in a referendum. The proposal was backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, but a low turnout of 30% revealed the lack of interest from the capital’s citizens. Ethics classes have been compulsory in the city’s schools since 2006, introduced after a so-called “honour” killing of a Muslim woman by her husband. Before the change, voluntary religious education classes were poorly attended.

Agreed.  I would have thought that Germany was largely a secular country.  But Germany does have a large number of religious holidays, including the 40th day after Easter Sunday, which falls on a Thursday.  Useless, if you want a long weekend, as we Australians want (our head of state Queen Elizabeth II has at least two different birthdays in Australia because her real birthday occurs at an inconvenient time of the year).

The 40th day after Easter is purportedly the day someone called Jesus became the first astronaut.  Some countries have it as a public holiday.  Some don’t.

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/ascension-day

Indonesia, surprisingly, does.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 15, 2019, 03:35:08 PM
We have that day as a public holiday too (and a cross in the flag as well), and yet we are still one of the most secularized societies in the world. Religion has left various cultural vestiges like public holidays (and not all of out public holidays are religious either), medieval churches, paintings, etc, yet as a societal force in contemporary society, it is not influential. And I think that's what really counts, rather than various cultural vestiges.

Most people I have met here don't really care about religion, though I guess it might be different in rural areas or in our Bible Belt. Almost the only people I have discussed religion with at length are other skeptics.

That being said, Germany is a federation, and from what I know, some states there have quite a significant religious influence, relatively speaking.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 15, 2019, 04:20:31 PM
We have that day as a public holiday too (and a cross in the flag as well), and yet we are still one of the most secularized societies in the world. Religion has left various cultural vestiges like public holidays (and not all of out public holidays are religious either), medieval churches, paintings, etc, yet as a societal force in contemporary society, it is not influential. And I think that's what really counts, rather than various cultural vestiges.

Most people I have met here don't really care about religion, though I guess it might be different in rural areas or in our Bible Belt. Almost the only people I have discussed religion with at length are other skeptics.

That being said, Germany is a federation, and from what I know, some states there have quite a significant religious influence, relatively speaking.

In which country do you live?  In Germany, Accession Day is a public holiday both in Duisburg in the former West Germany and in Leipzig in the former officially atheist East Germany.  I know, because I was frustrated in both cities by the shops being closed, when I visited both cities for my religion, performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: arthwollipot on July 15, 2019, 08:56:59 PM
In many places, formerly religious holidays have been secularised. They are observed by basically the entire country regardless of religious affiliation. I'm an atheist, but I still have time off around Christmas, which is still called Christmas and not Yule or Solstice. Even people in the Muslim and Jewish communities have that time off, because it's a national public holiday.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 15, 2019, 10:57:05 PM
In many places, formerly religious holidays have been secularised. They are observed by basically the entire country regardless of religious affiliation. I'm an atheist, but I still have time off around Christmas, which is still called Christmas and not Yule or Solstice. Even people in the Muslim and Jewish communities have that time off, because it's a national public holiday.

Well, if religious holidays are secularised, then it’s not necessary to have them on the original day.  They could be shifted around for convenience like the Queen’s birthday in Australia, or to a Friday or a Monday to have a long weekend.  Accession day, occurring 40 days after Easter and on a Thursday shows that it’s still religious in nature.  And Easter still is religious, moving as it does depending on when the Full Moon occurs after the northern autumn equinox (the Passover - the angel of death apparently couldn’t see in the dark).

Christmas is a little different - it was co-opted by Christianity to replace the pagan celebration of the northern winter solstice.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: stands2reason on July 16, 2019, 09:54:44 AM
The 40th day after Easter is purportedly the day someone called Jesus became the first astronaut.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wan_Hu

(https://i.imgur.com/mOznyXN.png)
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 16, 2019, 01:07:39 PM
In many places, formerly religious holidays have been secularised. They are observed by basically the entire country regardless of religious affiliation. I'm an atheist, but I still have time off around Christmas, which is still called Christmas and not Yule or Solstice. Even people in the Muslim and Jewish communities have that time off, because it's a national public holiday.

Pretty much what I was wanting to say. :)

"Christmas" is a local variation. It is called "Jul" (i.e Yule) here, for instance.

And Christmas (https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/japan.shtml) since a few decades is widely celebrated in Japan as well. Not for religious reasons, as there are very few Christians in Japan. Just a cultural influence that spread.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 16, 2019, 01:08:15 PM
We have that day as a public holiday too (and a cross in the flag as well), and yet we are still one of the most secularized societies in the world. Religion has left various cultural vestiges like public holidays (and not all of out public holidays are religious either), medieval churches, paintings, etc, yet as a societal force in contemporary society, it is not influential. And I think that's what really counts, rather than various cultural vestiges.

Most people I have met here don't really care about religion, though I guess it might be different in rural areas or in our Bible Belt. Almost the only people I have discussed religion with at length are other skeptics.

That being said, Germany is a federation, and from what I know, some states there have quite a significant religious influence, relatively speaking.

In which country do you live?  In Germany, Accession Day is a public holiday both in Duisburg in the former West Germany and in Leipzig in the former officially atheist East Germany.  I know, because I was frustrated in both cities by the shops being closed, when I visited both cities for my religion, performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Not all countries have stores closed on public holidays. At least we don't.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 16, 2019, 07:02:33 PM
We have that day as a public holiday too (and a cross in the flag as well), and yet we are still one of the most secularized societies in the world. Religion has left various cultural vestiges like public holidays (and not all of out public holidays are religious either), medieval churches, paintings, etc, yet as a societal force in contemporary society, it is not influential. And I think that's what really counts, rather than various cultural vestiges.

Most people I have met here don't really care about religion, though I guess it might be different in rural areas or in our Bible Belt. Almost the only people I have discussed religion with at length are other skeptics.

That being said, Germany is a federation, and from what I know, some states there have quite a significant religious influence, relatively speaking.

In which country do you live?  In Germany, Accession Day is a public holiday both in Duisburg in the former West Germany and in Leipzig in the former officially atheist East Germany.  I know, because I was frustrated in both cities by the shops being closed, when I visited both cities for my religion, performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Not all countries have stores closed on public holidays. At least we don't.

It’s not so much about the stores being closed on public holidays, but the stores being closed only on public holidays that are (or were) originally religious in nature:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shopping_hours

In Australia, generally stores are closed on Easter Friday and Sunday, and Christmas Day, but are open on other public holidays.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: arthwollipot on July 16, 2019, 08:48:03 PM
In many places, formerly religious holidays have been secularised. They are observed by basically the entire country regardless of religious affiliation. I'm an atheist, but I still have time off around Christmas, which is still called Christmas and not Yule or Solstice. Even people in the Muslim and Jewish communities have that time off, because it's a national public holiday.

Pretty much what I was wanting to say. :)

"Christmas" is a local variation. It is called "Jul" (i.e Yule) here, for instance.

And Christmas (https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/japan.shtml) since a few decades is widely celebrated in Japan as well. Not for religious reasons, as there are very few Christians in Japan. Just a cultural influence that spread.

There's actually a very strong Christian tradition in Japan, stemming from when the Portuguese started messing in their wars in the 16th Century.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 16, 2019, 08:56:28 PM
Christmas is celebrated in Japan in a similar way as Valentine's Day in the US. Sweethearts exchange gifts and go out on dates together.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: arthwollipot on July 16, 2019, 11:36:44 PM
Christmas is celebrated in Japan in a similar way as Valentine's Day in the US. Sweethearts exchange gifts and go out on dates together.

And eat KFC.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: superdave on July 17, 2019, 10:01:50 AM
there's no right answer here.  Religious differences certainly make a relationship difficult but whether they should be the end depends very highly on the individuals and the nature of their relationship.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 17, 2019, 02:22:14 PM
In many places, formerly religious holidays have been secularised. They are observed by basically the entire country regardless of religious affiliation. I'm an atheist, but I still have time off around Christmas, which is still called Christmas and not Yule or Solstice. Even people in the Muslim and Jewish communities have that time off, because it's a national public holiday.

Pretty much what I was wanting to say. :)

"Christmas" is a local variation. It is called "Jul" (i.e Yule) here, for instance.

And Christmas (https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/japan.shtml) since a few decades is widely celebrated in Japan as well. Not for religious reasons, as there are very few Christians in Japan. Just a cultural influence that spread.

There's actually a very strong Christian tradition in Japan, stemming from when the Portuguese started messing in their wars in the 16th Century.

Not sure if I would call it strong. Around 1% of the Japanese identify as Christians.  For periods, Christians were persecuted in Japan.

Modern-day celebration of Christmas in Japan, from what I understand, is an American cultural import. Or if you will, "cultural appropriation"...
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 17, 2019, 02:45:23 PM
It's a consequence of the US occupation following WWII, so I don't know if "cultural appropriation" is the appropriate term.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 17, 2019, 03:05:15 PM
It's a consequence of the US occupation following WWII, so I don't know if "cultural appropriation" is the appropriate term.

It doesn't seem like that.

My first link (https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/japan.shtml) was a bit vague, but I wouldn't consider the American military occupation of Japan, which ended almost 70 years ago, to be "the last few decades".

Quote
Christmas has only been widely celebrated in Japan for the last few decades. It's still not seen as a religious holiday or celebration as there aren't many Christians in Japan. Now several customs that came to Japan from the USA such as sending and receiving Christmas Cards and Presents are popular.

Another link (http://www.fundootimes.com/festivals/japan-christmas.html) I found:

Quote
Christianity was introduced in Japan by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries in the 16th century. During early years of Christianity in Japan many Christians were arrested, tortured and killed. In the 17th century the churches began to grow again and in the 20th Century many missionaries came back to Japan to start Christianity and its celebration. Thus Christmas celebration in Japan began in the early 20th century. For many years only people who believed in Christianity celebrated Christmas but today Christmas is a universally observed festival.

Here (https://tokyocheapo.com/travel/holidays/christmas-japan-timeline/) is a timeline for Christmas in Japan. Christmas really took off after the war, and KFC became a thing in the 1970s, so it's an evolving tradition (like it is in the West as well).

(https://cdn.cheapoguides.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/11/16309695510_542a277dca_o-770x431.jpg)

I will visit that country some day! :)
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 17, 2019, 03:36:18 PM
Wow, thanks for that! You learn something new every day.

I'd long believed the Japanese celebration of Christmas to be cultural artifact left behind after the occupation, like baseball.

It turns out I was wrong about baseball too (http://japanology.org/2018/07/how-baseball-came-to-japan-and-became-japanese/).
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 17, 2019, 03:42:10 PM
there's no right answer here.  Religious differences certainly make a relationship difficult but whether they should be the end depends very highly on the individuals and the nature of their relationship.

I agree. It depends on how tolerant of differences the parties are. I would certainly not consider it a dealbreaker if a potential partner was religious, at least not religious in an extreme way. I would however not enter into a relationship in which I was at some point expected to convert to some religion.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: arthwollipot on July 17, 2019, 08:46:52 PM
Wow, thanks for that! You learn something new every day.

I'd long believed the Japanese celebration of Christmas to be cultural artifact left behind after the occupation, like baseball.

It turns out I was wrong about baseball too (http://japanology.org/2018/07/how-baseball-came-to-japan-and-became-japanese/).

Yeah, for my part I had assumed that Christian traditions were held from much earlier than that, when Christian daimyos were fighting against the Buddhists for cultural and military supremacy. I guess we all have much to learn.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 17, 2019, 10:19:09 PM
It's a consequence of the US occupation following WWII, so I don't know if "cultural appropriation" is the appropriate term.

It doesn't seem like that.

My first link (https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/japan.shtml) was a bit vague, but I wouldn't consider the American military occupation of Japan, which ended almost 70 years ago, to be "the last few decades".

Quote
Christmas has only been widely celebrated in Japan for the last few decades. It's still not seen as a religious holiday or celebration as there aren't many Christians in Japan. Now several customs that came to Japan from the USA such as sending and receiving Christmas Cards and Presents are popular.

Another link (http://www.fundootimes.com/festivals/japan-christmas.html) I found:

Quote
Christianity was introduced in Japan by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries in the 16th century. During early years of Christianity in Japan many Christians were arrested, tortured and killed. In the 17th century the churches began to grow again and in the 20th Century many missionaries came back to Japan to start Christianity and its celebration. Thus Christmas celebration in Japan began in the early 20th century. For many years only people who believed in Christianity celebrated Christmas but today Christmas is a universally observed festival.

Here (https://tokyocheapo.com/travel/holidays/christmas-japan-timeline/) is a timeline for Christmas in Japan. Christmas really took off after the war, and KFC became a thing in the 1970s, so it's an evolving tradition (like it is in the West as well).

(https://cdn.cheapoguides.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/11/16309695510_542a277dca_o-770x431.jpg)

I will visit that country some day! :)

I won’t.  Besides the fact that I’ve more or less blacklisted Japan because of their whaling, which I regard as a crime against humanity, I think foreign travel to be conspicuous consumption rather than an effort to experience different cultures.  If you’re travelling on your own it’s impossible to immerse yourself in the different culture more than very superficially.  And if you’re travelling in a tour group, the culture you’re being exposed to is the culture of the tour group.

A better way of understanding different cultures is to read the accounts of people who have made the effort to immerse themselves in the culture.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on July 18, 2019, 04:11:07 AM
I agree to some extent, but at the risk of whataboutism, I'm guessing that the list of countries you could possibly visit is quite short if the whaling issue alone can blacklist a country.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 18, 2019, 10:37:43 PM
I agree to some extent, but at the risk of whataboutism, I'm guessing that the list of countries you could possibly visit is quite short if the whaling issue alone can blacklist a country.

Not really.  There’s more countries than I could ever visit which don’t engage in whaling.  And I don’t travel for travel’s sake.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: The Latinist on July 19, 2019, 03:05:49 PM
I agree to some extent, but at the risk of whataboutism, I'm guessing that the list of countries you could possibly visit is quite short if the whaling issue alone can blacklist a country.

I only know of three major countries that currently engage in whaling, aside from aboriginal subsistence whaling.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 19, 2019, 04:05:11 PM
I've been to two of the whaling nations (Iceland, Norway).

I agree that whaling is bad, but I think most if not all countries have their share of dirty laundry, admittedly some more than others.

Keep in mind that Japan, unlike Germany, has from what I understand never really owed up to its crimes during World War 2. I consider that to be really, really bad.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: 2397 on July 19, 2019, 04:35:21 PM
I agree to some extent, but at the risk of whataboutism, I'm guessing that the list of countries you could possibly visit is quite short if the whaling issue alone can blacklist a country.

Not really.  There’s more countries than I could ever visit which don’t engage in whaling.  And I don’t travel for travel’s sake.

Right, but I meant issues other than whaling that governments allow for, fund, or fail to prevent, that you could equally apply responsibility to the entire country for.

Which I wouldn't necessarily argue against, but I struggle to think of a country that is clean in that sense. Iceland is usually my go to as a country that is less involved in the horrors of humanity, they're less concerned about the needs of the financial elite, and they're one of very few countries that are even considering stopping adults from mutilating male infants. But of course they do whaling.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 19, 2019, 06:16:05 PM
I agree to some extent, but at the risk of whataboutism, I'm guessing that the list of countries you could possibly visit is quite short if the whaling issue alone can blacklist a country.

Not really.  There’s more countries than I could ever visit which don’t engage in whaling.  And I don’t travel for travel’s sake.

Right, but I meant issues other than whaling that governments allow for, fund, or fail to prevent, that you could equally apply responsibility to the entire country for.

Which I wouldn't necessarily argue against, but I struggle to think of a country that is clean in that sense. Iceland is usually my go to as a country that is less involved in the horrors of humanity, they're less concerned about the needs of the financial elite, and they're one of very few countries that are even considering stopping adults from mutilating male infants. But of course they do whaling.

For Australians, Japan is the most apparent whaling nation.  And also the most obstinate.  I find that it makes sense for me to blacklist Japan.  I agree that other countries engage in whaling, including Iceland.  There’s opposition to whaling within Iceland, which also has a whale watching sector.  Next year, I’m doing a cruise hopefully to see the Northern Lights, which departs from Reykjavík.  I was planning on doing a short Iceland tour beforehand (3 or 4 days), but I’m having second thoughts.  I might stopover in Europe instead, if I can find a Ring Cycle somewhere there.  I haven’t decided.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 20, 2019, 03:07:22 PM
I’ve more or less blacklisted Japan because of their whaling, which I regard as a crime against humanity

How dare you criticize the national cultures of other countries?  ;)

For what it's worth, I agree about the whaling. I wouldn't call it a "crime against humanity" though. (A crime against cetaceanity (http://worldtravaillers.com/blog/tag/cetaceanity/), perhaps?) 

Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 20, 2019, 07:25:37 PM
I’ve more or less blacklisted Japan because of their whaling, which I regard as a crime against humanity

How dare you criticize the national cultures of other countries?  ;)

For what it's worth, I agree about the whaling. I wouldn't call it a "crime against humanity" though. (A crime against cetaceanity (http://worldtravaillers.com/blog/tag/cetaceanity/), perhaps?)

I regard whaling as a crime against humanity, as I would call any action that threatens the survival of any iconic species such as whales, so that future generations of humans wouldn’t be able to see them, as crimes against future generations of humans.

Whaling isn’t culture.  It’s uncultured.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: The Latinist on July 20, 2019, 07:55:53 PM
I don’t think that it can reasonably be argued that a small harvest of certain species of whales threatens them with extinction. There may be (and I think are) other reasons to oppose whaling; but species like the minke whale and bowhead, among others, would not be threatened even by a quota of several thousand per year.

I also strongly disagree that whaling cannot be part of a people’s culture. There are indigenous tribes, for instance, whose way of life was for millennia centered around the whale hunt. It was an essential part of their diet, their toolmaking, and even their artistic expression. For this reason I do not oppose the continuation of well-managed whaling by indigenous peoples using traditional methods.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 20, 2019, 08:20:41 PM
I regard whaling as a crime against humanity, as I would call any action that threatens the survival of any iconic species such as whales, so that future generations of humans wouldn’t be able to see them, as crimes against future generations of humans.

Only "iconic" species? How do you arrive at that designation?


Whaling isn’t culture.  It’s uncultured.

Well that's a hot take. The practice of whaling has been central to the survival of some cultures, but to be fair the overall impact of those traditional practices is not comparable to the widespread destruction of whales on an industrial scale.

I may chide you for your hard line on whaling, I'm not a totally squishy cultural relativist either. There are some cultural practices (such as capital punishment, sanctioned vengeance, violence in the name of honor, oppression of women, ritual disfigurement of children, and deliberate indoctrination of children into false beliefs) which I also consider fundamentally immoral. Call me a self-righteous imperialist white devil if you like, but I'm morally incapable to budge on those opinions.

Which is another reason why I would never marry or willingly sire children with a partner who might want to raise our children in some religion before they're mature enough to willingly choose their conscience.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 20, 2019, 09:22:11 PM
I regard whaling as a crime against humanity, as I would call any action that threatens the survival of any iconic species such as whales, so that future generations of humans wouldn’t be able to see them, as crimes against future generations of humans.

Only "iconic" species? How do you arrive at that designation?


Whaling isn’t culture.  It’s uncultured.

Well that's a hot take. The practice of whaling has been central to the survival of some cultures, but to be fair the overall impact of those traditional practices is not comparable to the widespread destruction of whales on an industrial scale.

I may chide you for your hard line on whaling, I'm not a totally squishy cultural relativist either. There are some cultural practices (such as capital punishment, sanctioned vengeance, violence in the name of honor, oppression of women, ritual disfigurement of children, and deliberate indoctrination of children into false beliefs) which I also consider fundamentally immoral. Call me a self-righteous imperialist white devil if you like, but I'm morally incapable to budge on those opinions.

Which is another reason why I would never marry or willingly sire children with a partner who might want to raise our children in some religion before they're mature enough to willingly choose their conscience.

I don’t care about your opinion.  Anti-whaling has been central to my environmental concerns for over 40 years.  It’s the main reason why I became a vegetarian.

The Japanese engage in unnecessary commercial whaling, which is insignificant economically or nutritionally.  Blacklisting the country is the only action personally I can take.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 20, 2019, 10:43:19 PM
You may not care about my opinion, but I respect your commitment to what you feel is right.

Not sure what you mean by "blacklist," but it seems kind of reductive to punish an entire country for the actions of one bad industry.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 21, 2019, 03:30:11 AM
You may not care about my opinion, but I respect your commitment to what you feel is right.

Not sure what you mean by "blacklist," but it seems kind of reductive to punish an entire country for the actions of one bad industry.

It means I’m not going to visit Japan.  Nor am I going to buy products made in Japan.  The Japanese government is responsible for the actions of the whaling industry.  Individual Japanese and Japanese corporations are responsible for the actions of the Japanese government.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 21, 2019, 10:52:44 AM
I may chide you for your hard line on whaling, I'm not a totally squishy cultural relativist either. There are some cultural practices (such as capital punishment, sanctioned vengeance, violence in the name of honor, oppression of women, ritual disfigurement of children, and deliberate indoctrination of children into false beliefs) which I also consider fundamentally immoral. Call me a self-righteous imperialist white devil if you like, but I'm morally incapable to budge on those opinions.

No need to be ashamed. If we are on the path to accepting cruel or inhumane practices because "it's their culture", then we are on a very worrying path indeed. My impression otherwise is that society, at least here, has gone the other direction during the past few decades or so, not accepting cruel or inhumane practices with reference to culture. We are not completely there yet, but it's getting way better.

Quite often you can see individuals with backgrounds from these cultures being at the frontline in fighting such practices.

And to clarify, while I disapprove of whaling, I don't consider it to be nearly as bad as the things you mentioned.

Which is another reason why I would never marry or willingly sire children with a partner who might want to raise our children in some religion before they're mature enough to willingly choose their conscience.

I would consider a mutual agreement that the child gets to choose religion (or no religion) when being old enough to do so to probably be necessary.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 21, 2019, 07:14:10 PM
I may chide you for your hard line on whaling, I'm not a totally squishy cultural relativist either. There are some cultural practices (such as capital punishment, sanctioned vengeance, violence in the name of honor, oppression of women, ritual disfigurement of children, and deliberate indoctrination of children into false beliefs) which I also consider fundamentally immoral. Call me a self-righteous imperialist white devil if you like, but I'm morally incapable to budge on those opinions.

No need to be ashamed. If we are on the path to accepting cruel or inhumane practices because "it's their culture", then we are on a very worrying path indeed. My impression otherwise is that society, at least here, has gone the other direction during the past few decades or so, not accepting cruel or inhumane practices with reference to culture. We are not completely there yet, but it's getting way better.

Quite often you can see individuals with backgrounds from these cultures being at the frontline in fighting such practices.

And to clarify, while I disapprove of whaling, I don't consider it to be nearly as bad as the things you mentioned.

Which is another reason why I would never marry or willingly sire children with a partner who might want to raise our children in some religion before they're mature enough to willingly choose their conscience.

I would consider a mutual agreement that the child gets to choose religion (or no religion) when being old enough to do so to probably be necessary.

Disapproving of a social practice achieves absolutely nothing.  My blacklisting Japan because of its whaling achieves not much more if anything, but at least it gives me the satisfaction of doing something even if very little.  I also donate to Greenpeace, for their anti-whaling campaign (I disapprove of their other campaigns, such as their anti-GMO one).

I regard whaling as being very important.  It’s been central to my environmental concerns for over 40 years, even before global warming became an issue for me.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 05:41:06 PM
My blacklisting Japan

I still don't understand what your use of the word "blacklisting" is supposed to mean in this context. It sure sounds ominous, but I'm scratching my head.

Does it mean you're avoiding Japan as a tourist destination? Boycotting all consumer goods that originate from Japan? Refusing to eat sushi or watch anime?

What about the other countries that also harbor whaling industries, like Iceland, Norway and China? Have you "blacklisted" them, too?

Where did you get your cell phone and computer from?


I also donate to Greenpeace, for their anti-whaling campaign (I disapprove of their other campaigns, such as their anti-GMO one).

After spending a summer working for Greenpeace and witnessing firsthand how blatantly they lie to trick people into donating, I wouldn't give them a red cent.


It’s been central to my environmental concerns for over 40 years, even before global warming became an issue for me.

The fact that you've been doing something for a long time is not a reasonable excuse to avoid questioning it. 
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 22, 2019, 06:38:11 PM
My blacklisting Japan

I still don't understand what your use of the word "blacklisting" is supposed to mean in this context. It sure sounds ominous, but I'm scratching my head.

Does it mean you're avoiding Japan as a tourist destination? Boycotting all consumer goods that originate from Japan? Refusing to eat sushi or watch anime?

What about the other countries that also harbor whaling industries, like Iceland, Norway and China? Have you "blacklisted" them, too?

Where did you get your cell phone and computer from?


I also donate to Greenpeace, for their anti-whaling campaign (I disapprove of their other campaigns, such as their anti-GMO one).

After spending a summer working for Greenpeace and witnessing firsthand how blatantly they lie to trick people into donating, I wouldn't give them a red cent.


It’s been central to my environmental concerns for over 40 years, even before global warming became an issue for me.

The fact that you've been doing something for a long time is not a reasonable excuse to avoid questioning it.

China doesn’t engage in whaling. 

I’m vegetarian.  I don’t eat sushi anyway.  Sushi made in Australia isn’t coming from Japan anyway.

Anime is a waste of time. 

I don’t have a cell phone. 

Japan is a particularly bad example of a whaling nation.  To my knowledge no other whalers sail to the opposite side of the world to the Antarctic to slaughter whales. 

Iceland and Norway don’t make products I can blacklist, so I can’t make a decision to blacklist them today as I can with Japan.  Whether I should visit Iceland or Norway as a tourist is a decision I’d have to make when the time comes.

I’ve also been questioning my opinion about whaling for 40+ years.  It hasn’t changed.  It’s a barbaric practice.  Nothing will change my opinion about that.  Whaling is barbaric, so Japan is a barbaric country.

I don’t want to visit Japan anyway.  There’s nothing there I want to see that I can’t see on the Internet.  Foreign travel is just conspicuous consumption, often more trouble than it’s worth.   I can buy the products I want (not necessarily the ones I need - there’s very few things I actually need) from other sources.

It’s a personal choice.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 07:10:39 PM
Gateway issues caused this post to be re-submitted multiple times. Sorry.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 07:15:00 PM
Gateway issues caused this post to be re-submitted multiple times. Sorry.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 07:16:14 PM
Gateway issues caused this post to be re-submitted multiple times. Sorry.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 07:13:14 PM
Gateway issues caused this post to be re-submitted multiple times. Sorry.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 07:11:22 PM
Japan is a particularly bad example of a whaling nation.  To my knowledge no other whalers sail to the opposite side of the world to the Antarctic to slaughter whales.

The Antarctic is not the opposite side of the world from Japan. It's only a few thousand miles, though they have to navigate around Australia. 


Iceland and Norway don’t make products I can blacklist, so I can’t make a decision to blacklist them today as I can with Japan.

So you're using the word "blacklist," to mean "boycott." Got it.


Whether I should visit Iceland or Norway as a tourist is a decision I’d have to make when the time comes.

So, you regard Japan as "barbaric" and off-limits because it has a whaling industry, but for some reason Iceland or Norway are still open to consideration? Why the double standard?


Whaling is barbaric, so Japan is a barbaric country.

Seems like a radical hypergeneralization to vilify an entire country as "barbaric" over a single hunting practice.

I believe that executing prisoners is barbaric, but I'd never use that word to malign every single country that practices capital punishment. Countries amount to more than the nadir of their worst laws.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 22, 2019, 07:50:54 PM
Japan is a particularly bad example of a whaling nation.  To my knowledge no other whalers sail to the opposite side of the world to the Antarctic to slaughter whales.

The Antarctic is not the opposite side of the world from Japan. It's only a few thousand miles, though they have to navigate around Australia. 


Iceland and Norway don’t make products I can blacklist, so I can’t make a decision to blacklist them today as I can with Japan.

So you're using the word "blacklist," to mean "boycott." Got it.


Whether I should visit Iceland or Norway as a tourist is a decision I’d have to make when the time comes.

So, you regard Japan as "barbaric" and off-limits because it has a whaling industry, but for some reason Iceland or Norway are still open to consideration? Why the double standard?


Whaling is barbaric, so Japan is a barbaric country.

Seems like a radical hypergeneralization to vilify an entire country as "barbaric" over a single hunting practice.

I believe that executing prisoners is barbaric, but I'd never use that word to malign every single country that practices capital punishment. Countries amount to more than the nadir of their worst laws.

Japan to the Antarctic is more than a few thousand miles.  I boycott visiting Japan (not that I have any interest in doing so) and Japanese products because I’ve blacklisted Japan.  Countries that execute prisoners are barbaric.  Many American states have capital punishment in their laws, largely supported by Republicans.  I’d regard America to be barbaric, particularly Republicans, but capital punishment isn’t such an important issue for me as whaling.  And as I noted, the thought of foreign travel is losing its appeal.  It’s often more trouble than it’s worth.  I won’t be visiting Norway.  I don’t know about Iceland.  I can’t boycott Norwegian or Icelandic products now because they don’t make any products I buy now.  If I ever decide in the future to visit Iceland or Norway, they might have ceased whaling by then.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 08:03:53 PM
Japan to the Antarctic is more than a few thousand miles.

It's 13,930 kilometers, or 8,656 miles (https://www.distancefromto.net/distance-from-antarctica-to-japan).


capital punishment isn’t such an important issue for me as whaling

Wow. Killing whales is worse than killing humans... hot take there.


I won’t be visiting Norway.  I don’t know about Iceland.  I can’t boycott Norwegian or Icelandic products now because they don’t make any products I buy now.  If I ever decide in the future to visit Iceland or Norway, they might have ceased whaling by then.

I just find it... noteworthy I guess, that you've drawn such a hard line against Japan—even going so far as vilify the entire country as "barbaric"—but you've taken no such hard stance against Iceland or Norway. You even consider the possibility of visiting Iceland, despite the fact that they too engage in the "barbaric" practice of whaling.

Why the double standard? Why do you not regard Iceland and Norway as equally "barbaric" as Japan?
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 22, 2019, 08:14:47 PM
capital punishment isn’t such an important issue for me as whaling

Wow. Killing whales is worse than killing humans... hot take there.


I won’t be visiting Norway.  I don’t know about Iceland.  I can’t boycott Norwegian or Icelandic products now because they don’t make any products I buy now.  If I ever decide in the future to visit Iceland or Norway, they might have ceased whaling by then.

I just find it... "noteworthy" that you've drawn such a hard line against Japan—even going so far as vilify the entire country as "barbaric"—but you've taken no such hard stance against Iceland or Norway. You've even reserved the possibility of visiting Iceland despite the fact that they too engage in whaling.

Why the double standard? Why do you not regard Iceland and Norway as "barbaric" as Japan?

Yes, I do regard Iceland and Norway as barbaric.  But I can’t boycott their products now, as I can with Japan. 

Capital punishment is barbaric, but it’s not as much an issue for me as whaling.  There are many more humans on Earth than there are whales.  Capital punishment isn’t going to cause extinction of humans.  Whaling might cause the extinction of whales, besides being a cruel practice.  If humans were executed by being shot with arrows and forced to drag a cart around for 20 minutes, I’d equate capital punishment to whaling.

I’m bemused that you’re so upset to take offence at my deciding not to engage in the conspicuous consumption of travelling to Japan or buying Japanese products I can get elsewhere if I want them.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: arthwollipot on July 22, 2019, 09:04:24 PM
After spending a summer working for Greenpeace and witnessing firsthand how blatantly they lie to trick people into donating, I wouldn't give them a red cent.

I stopped supporting Greenpeace after they vandalised a plant research facility (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-15/scientists-condemn-greenpeace-gm-cull/2795482) in my hometown.


Anime is a waste of time.

In your opinion.

I don’t have a cell phone.

You say that like it's something that you're proud of.

It’s a personal choice.

No-one's questioning your right to make personal choices. Some of us are questioning your motives and reasoning behind the choices you make.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: stands2reason on July 22, 2019, 09:18:12 PM
capital punishment isn’t such an important issue for me as whaling

Wow. Killing whales is worse than killing humans... hot take there.

Anime is a waste of time.

In your opinion.

Y'all posting in a troll thread.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: arthwollipot on July 22, 2019, 09:19:27 PM
Y'all posting in a troll thread.

Bachfiend isn't a troll. He just has some... distinct opinions.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 22, 2019, 09:37:36 PM
If humans were executed by being shot with arrows and forced to drag a cart around for 20 minutes, I’d equate capital punishment to whaling.

A human is executed by getting locked in a steel box for 20 years, psychologically tortured with hope through a drawn-out appeals process, forced to watch the queue of condemned inmates sent one after another to their own deaths, in full knowledge that the day approaches when he  himself will get strapped to a gurney and injected with poison.

The horrors which we routinely visit upon each other are often far worse than what we do to other animals.


I’m bemused that you’re so upset to take offence at my deciding not to engage in the conspicuous consumption of travelling to Japan or buying Japanese products I can get elsewhere if I want them.

I'm not upset and I'm not offended. I just find it a little weird, that's all.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 22, 2019, 10:11:44 PM
Quote from: bachfiend link=topic=51117.msg9623095#msg9623095
If humans were executed by being shot with arrows and forced to drag a cart around for 20 minutes, I’d equate capital punishment to whaling.

A human is executed by getting locked in a steel box for 20 years, psychologically tortured with hope through a drawn-out appeals process, forced to watch the queue of condemned inmates sent one after another to their own deaths, in full knowledge that the day approaches when he  himself will get strapped to a gurney and injected with poison.


I’m bemused that you’re so upset to take offence at my deciding not to engage in the conspicuous consumption of travelling to Japan or buying Japanese products I can get elsewhere if I want them.

I'm not upset and I'm not offended. I just find it a little weird, that's all.

I agree it’s more sensible (and cheaper) to sentence a person to life in prison rather than sentencing a person to capital punishment if you’re going to allow years’ long appeals processes.  Capital punishment is just retribution.

You must be upset and offended to post numerous comments in response to my noting that I’m never going to visit Japan or buy Japanese products I can get elsewhere because of their whaling (and I don’t intend to visit Japan anyway).
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 23, 2019, 05:09:20 AM
I agree it’s more sensible (and cheaper) to sentence a person to life in prison rather than sentencing a person to capital punishment if you’re going to allow years’ long appeals processes.  Capital punishment is just retribution.

I never said anything about lifetime prison sentences being more sensible or cheaper, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that an exhaustive due process was part of the problem.

What I said was that capital punishment is a barbaric practice, and an argument can be made that the prolonged psychological and physical torture that we as a society inflict on death row inmates is far worse than the slaughter of a marine mammal.


You must be upset and offended to post numerous comments...

I am not the slightest bit upset or offended by your opinion about Japan, despite your obvious efforts to project those negative emotions onto me. My motivation for posting "numerous comments" is purely a courtesy to you, because you've continued the conversation.

The only feeling I have is curiosity at your inconsistency on the subject.

You severely excoriated Japan for killing whales, calling it "a barbaric country" and declaring it "blackballed," but you totally disregarded Norway and Iceland in that rant. When I followed up with questions about Norway and Iceland, you said those countries don't produce anything you want to buy anyway. Then you speculated that Norway and Iceland might discontinue their whaling practices someday, and said you don't care much for Norway but visiting Iceland was not out of the question. I find that double standard quite puzzling.

(Iceland, by the way, has been every bit as politically dicey about their whaling practices as the Japanese have, reneging on ban agreements and continuing their practice under the pretense of "scientific research." Norway, on the other hand, has always been quite matter-of-fact about their objections to the ban.)

Anyway, this digression is super off-topic. If you want to continue, let's take it to the new thread about Whaling (https://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,51359.0.html).
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 23, 2019, 05:22:03 AM
I agree it’s more sensible (and cheaper) to sentence a person to life in prison rather than sentencing a person to capital punishment if you’re going to allow years’ long appeals processes.  Capital punishment is just retribution.

I never said anything about lifetime prison sentences being more sensible or cheaper, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that an exhaustive due process was part of the problem.

What I said was that capital punishment is a barbaric practice, and an argument can be made that the prolonged psychological and physical torture that we as a society inflict on death row inmates is far worse than the slaughter of a marine mammal.


You must be upset and offended to post numerous comments...

I am not the slightest bit upset or offended, despite your obvious efforts to project those negative emotions onto me. My motivation for posting "numerous comments" is a courtesy to you, because you've continued the conversation.

The only "feeling" I have is curiosity at your inconsistency on the subject.

You severely excoriated Japan for killing whales, calling it "a barbaric country" and declaring it "blackballed," but you totally disregarded Norway and Iceland in that rant. When I followed up with questions about Norway and Iceland, you said those countries don't produce anything you want to buy anyway. Then you speculated that Norway and Iceland might discontinue their whaling practices someday, and admitted that visiting Iceland was not out of the question. I find that double standard quite puzzling.

(Iceland, by the way, has been every bit as politically dicey about their whaling practices as the Japanese have, reneging on ban agreements and continuing their practice under the pretense of "marine biology research." Norway, on the other hand, has always been quite matter-of-fact about their objections to the ban.)

It’s human to be inconsistent.  But Japan is a relatively barbaric country compared to many other countries.  It engages in commercial whaling and calls it research.  It hasn’t apologised for its war crimes.  It produces products I could buy if I wanted to, but I can buy them elsewhere, so I do.  I won’t visit Japan because I don’t want to.  Even if they stopped whaling, I still don’t want to. 

But anyway.  Would you approve of capital punishment if it was immediate?  That there wasn’t a prolonged appeal process?  The person being executed would be spared the pronged mental torture.

I personally think that capital punishment is wrong, regardless.  But I don’t regard it in the same league as whaling.  It’s a personal opinion.  I’ll visit America and buy American products, but I won’t visit Japan or buy Japanese products.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: John Albert on July 23, 2019, 05:56:49 AM
Japan is a relatively barbaric country compared to many other countries.  It engages in commercial whaling and calls it research.  It hasn’t apologised for its war crimes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

The US has a long list of war crimes for which it has not only failed to apologize, but even has some for which our leaders have steadfastly refused to apologize.

Does that, plus allowing the death penalty, meet the threshold of designating the US a "barbaric country"?


Would you approve of capital punishment if it was immediate? That there wasn’t a prolonged appeal process?  The person being executed would be spared the pronged mental torture.

No. I believe it's barbaric to execute prisoners as punishment, regardless of methodology.

As I already said in my last post, the due process of appeals is not the problem.

The mental torture of imminent death always has been a component of capital punishment, but killing prisoners would still be barbaric even if the condemned were somehow kept unaware that they had it coming.


I personally think that capital punishment is wrong, regardless.  But I don’t regard it in the same league as whaling.  It’s a personal opinion.  I’ll visit America and buy American products, but I won’t visit Japan or buy Japanese products.

The idea that killing whales is worse than torturing and killing humans still seems rather outrageous to me.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on July 23, 2019, 11:54:19 AM
bachfiend, would you consider visiting the Faroe Islands (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faroe_Islands) (not an independent country, but it has a lot of autonomy), that also engages in whaling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling_in_the_Faroe_Islands)? What about Denmark, that does not itself engage in whaling, but whose aforementioned autonomous territory does?

I consider whaling bad, but I would not blacklist Japan over it. I don't think Japan can be reduced to whaling.

As for the US, it certainly has its dirty laundry, but I don't blacklist that country either. I have visited it in the past, I will very likely visit it at some point in the future again.
Title: Re: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.
Post by: bachfiend on July 23, 2019, 04:45:25 PM
bachfiend, would you consider visiting the Faroe Islands (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faroe_Islands) (not an independent country, but it has a lot of autonomy), that also engages in whaling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling_in_the_Faroe_Islands)? What about Denmark, that does not itself engage in whaling, but whose aforementioned autonomous territory does?

I consider whaling bad, but I would not blacklist Japan over it. I don't think Japan can be reduced to whaling.

As for the US, it certainly has its dirty laundry, but I don't blacklist that country either. I have visited it in the past, I will very likely visit it at some point in the future again.

Why is my personal decision not to visit Japan, or buy Japanese products (if I can get them elsewhere), because of their cynical decision to engage in commercial whaling under the guise of research facilitated at the highest level by the Japanese government, receiving so much criticism?

I’m not saying that no one should visit Japan or buy Japanese products or visit Japan.  It’s a personal decision.  I can refuse now not to buy Japanese products to make my displeasure explicit.  I can’t make my displeasure explicit at Iceland, Norway or Faroe Islands whaling now because they don’t make products I want to buy.

This year I had the opportunity of doing an organised music tour from Amsterdam to Bergen.  I eventually dropped it, partly because of the itinerary and partly because of Norway’s whaling, visiting Germany instead (including 11 nights in the Ruhr city of Duisburg, which I thought was going to be a disaster, but actually turned out to be the highlight of my trip). 

Next year, I’m doing a cruise in the Arctic departing Reykjavík, hoping to see the Northern Lights. I’m still trying to decide whether I’ll add a short Iceland tour beforehand.  I probably won’t.  The only place I want to see in Iceland is the join between the American and the European plates.

I’d never heard of the Faroe Islands, so visiting them is never likely to be on my very short bucket list of places to visit (which is becoming shorter as I age, and I’m finding long distance travel becoming increasingly more bother than it’s worth).

America has a lot of dirty laundry, but it doesn’t engage in whaling, which personally is very important.  I’d consider visiting America, if I can find a reason for doing so.  Travel for travel’s sake has no appeal for me.  I was thinking of visiting Chicago next year for their Ring Cycle.  I won’t, deciding for the ‘local’ one in Brisbane, which is much closer and more comfortable to reach.