frankiesoup made some comments on some of my posts. She has, unlike many of the raving idiots that get wound up by my posts, spent some time to consider her standpoint. Or at least it seams like that. Therefor i will give a more considered response.
Basically Frankie asks – what harm does it do to let people believe whatever they want?
I have touched on this subject before, usually in response to some insane babbling from some devout believer. Its quite refreshing to get a response from someone who look like they have at least thought about the subject matter.
I will use some extracts from Frankies comments for reference. they are in Italic.
“Thank you for replying, Muzolf and EMP – though you don’t seem to have read my original post properly. When I said ‘What harm can there be…’ I specifically excluded extremists and evangelists in my statement. (”What harm can it possibly do if people – *evangelists and extremists aside* – believe in a higher power?” were my exact words.)”
The “what is the harm” approach is a big part of allowing the extremist problem to come into existence in the first place. Its the hoards of people that defend the right “to believe whatever they want about god, life, death and the universe” that makes extremism possible.
This excuse-ism is so ingrained in our “politically correct” culture that many people, like Frankiesoup fail to realize how ridiculous this concept is. In no other aspects of life are we allowed to believe “whatever we want” imagine if doctors where allowed use the same principle? If you are holy convinced that god told you that you could cure any ailment with plutonium, should that be respected? After all, its your faith! What if you get a flock of similarly convinced individuals and you build a church to worship your plutonium? should it be respected then?
The answer is of course: No it shouldn’t. Neither should anyone who claim to have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe be taken seriously. Religion is organized superstition and should be treated as such. It should be ridiculed and rigorously criticized as if the person in front of you professed to believe in pixies, fairies or trolls.
(For example many Nazis actually believed the arian raze where descendants from the legendary people of Atlantis, the head of the death camps where a devout believer and we all know how that turned out.)
You see, by not addressing the fundamental problem, (Iron age folklore and superstition shouldn’t be used as life guiding principles by anybody) we or the moderates defending religion, perpetuate the problem.
For some reason a lot of people defend this “believe whatever!” idea and as a result we have countless cults ranging from the established and strange (Vatican) to the down right absurd (Scientology).
“I’m a normal person – I get as pissed off as the next guy when folk come to my house and preach to me when I’m quite clearly not interested – but the majority of religious people would never dream of imposing their beliefs on others. When asked, they’ll comment, but otherwise they’re happy to leave well alone.
Preachers turning up at your house, is not what i think of when i talk about the danger and damage religion causes every day. Think about children being denied medical treatment because their parents are members of some sect that believes prayer is the only way to go? How about female circumcision? Or children that are disowned by their parents for being gay?
Such unforgivable acts are usually carried out by the people you mean should have the right to believe whatever they want, they are ordinary Jill and Joes and are not considered extremists.
I could give countless examples of average believers whose daily actions are irrational, mean and despicable, because of their religion, this alone should merit unlimited scorn of religious belief. After all the believer might be a nice person and its his religion that fucks him up.
At some point we have to ask the question, is the idea of freedom of religion a good one?
Consider that most religious texts are a hogposh patchwork of superstitious garbage that can be interpreted in pretty much any way you want. Take Muslim suicide bombers for instance, it doesnt say in the Koran ” strap a bomb to your chest and blow yourself up in a crowd of women and children” but it does incite hatred especially towards perceived enemies.
If we want to keep freedom of religion as a fundamental human right, we also have to accept that Pakistan militants try to burn the danish embassy for depicting the prophet mohammed. We have to say its ok for a parent to deny medical treatment to their children. We have to accept that devout catholics shoot doctors outside abortion clinics.
Because this is what accepting freedom of religion means, unless we want to be as hypocritical as the religious themselves.
In relation to religion i can pretty much make up whatever the fuck i want “ie: scientology” call it a religion, receive tax benefits and act out as i see fit. For example i can hate everyone that is gay. Accepting this is what freedom of religion means.
Lets for instance follow a potential scenario based around the idea “hate all gays” lets say you firmly believe this is against the will of god, you want to endear yourself with god of course. After all he holds the keys to the afterlife and what not.
How far is the step from believing that, to picking up a gun and blowing a gay persons head off? Just recently a jew blew up a gay bar in Israel. This is what religious faith does.
rationale people can see the idea, that anyone should be allowed to believe whatever they want about god life death and the universe is an extremely bad one. Its ridiculous, it negatively touches so many aspects of our lives, from suicide bombers to creationism the list of moronic and horrible things attributed to religious belief is practically endless.
“Finally, in response to your comment about my not knowing what life in Iran is like – fair enough, I don’t. I know what it’s like in Saudia Arabia though – the only country in the world where women are not permitted to drive and must be escorted in towns at all time by a man or face arrest. Egyptians have also offered to trade me for a camel with my husband… It’s a completely different world – a different culture – and I wouldn’t want to live there but it isn’t up to me to condemn them.”
You are wrong. It is your place to condemn them! Harshly! By not condemning this, you are actively supporting the degradation of half of Saudi Arabia’s population. Despite what Saudis believe. Women are individuals! Sentient human beings! They have the right to self determination and to live free fulfilling lives no matter what the culture is!
Instead they are property, and you, as a woman dear to say its not your place to condemn them?!!!!!!
Denying millions of people their birth given right, to be free is just evil! And deserves as much scorn and criticism as we can possibly muster. I would go so far as to say that the very idea is repulsive to humanity and deserves a violent response!
The sad part is, this is only one horrid example of how much suffering religion causes, you experienced someone offering a camel for you, you where lucky, your Western with a modern husband, you could leave the country, you where just a spectator.
Consider this :
What if you where an Egyptian woman and your husband actually traded you for a camel?
Maybe you had children? You would never see them again and there is nothing you can do about it. The courts, the law, everything is designed to ensure that men can continue to treat you as property. What if your new husband is violent? what if he grows tired of raping you and just leave you in the desert? No one will lift a finger for you, after all your just a woman….
Without religion classifying women as property, this culture would never existence and Muslim men’s treatment of women would never be acceptable behavior in any society.
Yet you defend it? Why is that? Do you still think “believe whatever” is a good idea?