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Old 10-28-2006, 02:11 PM   #1
SkinWalker
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Should We Respect Religion?

Should we moderate free speech with respect for religious opinion and belief?
Edit: "we" in the sentence above refers to society, not LucasForums or the moderators at LF. "Moderate" in this context has nothing to do with the word "moderator." The definition I'm using is "to tone down/make less intense."
I've participated on this and other internet forums where those that criticize and even ridicule religious belief are themselves criticized for their words. Somehow, religious thought and belief gets a pass from criticism in a politically correct fashion that states it is impolite or improper to criticize the beliefs of others.

I'm not suggesting that religious people should be disrespected. Private beliefs should have respect. But when people make a public spectacle of their beliefs, criticism is warranted, particularly when these beliefs affect others. At this point, criticism and ridicule of the person should be expected. If, say, my neighbor persists in "witnessing" to me, should I refrain from offering my own opinion about his beliefs? If religious superstition is used to decide public policy, should not this superstition be challenged with criticism even ridicule? If an openly religious elected official has admitted to believing in superstitions regarding the Second Coming and other apocalyptic mumbo jumbo, shouldn't his dedication to the future of our nation be questioned? Wouldn't his decision to invade a nation governed by a theocracy that differed from his own be questionable?

It's been suggested by the politically correct that the Muslim religion cannot be blamed for 9/11, the London subway bombings, or the Madrid bombings. Yet, in each of these cases, the perpetrators were Muslim and committed the acts for their religious beliefs. We are constantly reminded by the politically correct that these Muslims represent a few fundamentalist-extremists, yet when faced with criticism and ridicule, a very large number of Muslims emerge as "extremists" in their overreaction to a few benign cartoons. Violence erupted throughout Europe and the Muslim world and a bounty was offered by the "pious" leaders of various Islamic cults for the cartoonists and editor's death.

In the United States, where religious fundamentalism presents itself with usually less violent but still kooky manner, nuts like Pat Robertson have a following of millions of viewers of his 700 Club, a pseudo-news show that gives him the pre-paid opportunity to share his opinions about how his god is angry at the citizens of a city and therefore directs a hurricane to them.

By now, many of the believers that have read this far have decided that I'm wrong. I hope there are some believers that agree with me, because criticism, even ridicule, of religion is essential for freedom of religion. I'm sure, however, that there are many who find my statements just more callous remarks from a godless heathen and that I'm utterly wrong in calling for ridicule and criticism of religious beliefs.

But I wonder if those same people would be willing to apply the same logic to other human institutions? Could we say, for instance, that freedom of speech should be moderated with respect for science? Or what about political ideology? Would we expect to simply respect science and not question the work of scientists? Not be willing to ridicule bad science? Should there be no cartoons of scientific themes? Should political cartoons be banned from the editorial pages of newspapers? Should editorial comments be censored to restrict criticism of a politician's agenda and ideology? Should we not be free to question, criticize and ridicule politics and science if warranted?

Islamic leaders incite violent opposition to criticism and ridicule whenever it becomes public. Public offers of reward for the death of Salmon Rushdie years ago with his publication of Satanic Verses were made in Great Britain. The British government did nothing that I'm aware of to charge them with incitement to murder. Mainstream publications in the United States refused to publish the very benign cartoons of Muhammad. Is the Muslim god that weak that he can't take a joke? Or is the Islamic hierarchy simply afraid that criticism will open eyes and turn people away from their cult. It is, after all, still an offense punishable by death to convert from Islam to Christianity in many Muslim countries as is apostasy.


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Old 10-28-2006, 02:43 PM   #2
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In the interest of disclosure, I'd like to point out that at least one member reported the thread thusly: "[t]he Moderator knew this was a sensitive issue, and opened the thread anyway. This thread was designed to create tension in the forums, and should be considered for closure."

I don't know if the member, who'll go unnamed, intended the report as irony or was serious, but this is just the point I was trying to make. Religion gets an unfair pass on criticism. It shan't here, though I'll moderate for any ad hominem comments, spam, profanity, or rules violations.


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Old 10-28-2006, 03:13 PM   #3
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Let the record show that the person who complained about this thread was NOT me!

You are correct in that anyone professing their beliefs should have a reasonable expectation of criticism of said beliefs. The same goes for ridicule, though in all fairness the person doing the ridiculing should have a reasonable expectation of being viewed as a rude and arrogant jackass. Any view can and should be expressed politely, IMHO. Bad manners can be self-defeating, even when used in support of an otherwise good argument. When ridicule is used, people tend to come away from an argument with the impression that the perpetrator is a prick, and ignore any points that he/she made, regardless of how good or bad they were.

Just my two cents.


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Old 10-28-2006, 03:21 PM   #4
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I think the really big problem is that the people who are the most sensitive to criticism regarding their religious beliefs are often the ones with the least amount of respect for others' beliefs. I think Christians, Jews and Muslims worldwide have a duty to restrain their lunatic fringes, and unfortunately they're generally doing a piss-poor job of it. When you have people openly preaching death, destruction and violence, they cross the line between someone who should be respected and someone who should be quite rightly criticized.


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Old 10-29-2006, 03:10 AM   #5
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I'm seeing this as 2 different questions:
1. Is religion fair game for criticism
2. Is it acceptable to go so far as to ridicule religion

For the first--sure, because I'm very leery of doing much that limits free speech and freedom of religion. Religion, or the lack thereof, is open to debate. Those who have no religion can't expect a pass, though. Those who made the choice not to believe deserve all the same basic rights as those who do profess a religion, but also engender the same responsibilities.

For the second--ridicule is neither necessary nor effective in fostering debate, no matter how hilarious some of the spoofs/'art'/Onion articles/cartoons are. What do you gain from ridicule that you can't gain from a reasonable debate? That being said, I still don't want to regulate it to any great extreme, though I'm glad the Westboro fruitcakes can't protest as close as they've wanted to in a number of states.
We've probably all been made fun of at some point. How much did you feel like talking with the person who was ridiculing you? Did you feel like sitting down and having a reasonable chat? Or did you feel like karate-chopping the guy in the groin?
If I ridicule something as emotional as religion/areligion, about the only thing I gain is a. fooling myself into believing I feel superior for awhile and b. looking like an @ss to a bunch of people around me. It gets me nowhere constructive. You can criticize without ridiculing. And I don't think atheism should be treated any less respectfully than any religion, but I also don't think any one group should get preferential treatment, either.
The Onion does some great satire and is famous for ridiculing all sorts of things in a bitingly witty way. Some comediens and cartoonists make me howl laughing. However, no one's going to take them as seriously.
I don't think respect should be mandated. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be courteous, either. Just because we can ridicule something under freedom of speech laws doesn't mean we should.

The Muhammed cartoon--I think a lot of newspapers didn't publish the cartoon because of a fear of retaliation by extremists. I think the fear was mistaken as fawning over the PCness of an Islamic cartoon.
If I were an editor and had seen what was going on in other countries, I might have thought twice about publishing it, too, especially if my office received any threats. I wouldn't want my offices or anyone in my city/state getting bombed for a one-time piece of humor.


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Old 10-29-2006, 04:40 AM   #6
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Is it fair to ridicule political ideology? Are political cartoons in the editorial pages of newspapers "going too far?"

Would it be unfair to ridicule kooky pseudoscience beliefs that vary from ESP to alien abduction to free energy? What about the ridicule that late night talk show hosts have for public officials and entertainers?

Ridicule is a powerful societal mechanism. One that is very effective.

My main focus is criticism and inquiry, however. I bring up ridicule because of the lampooning tradition of political cartoons, which were a hot item in Europe. Like it or not, ridicule *is* a form of critique, though not all criticism is intended as ridicule. I use the word "intended" on purpose because my criticism of religion as a superstition is often perceived incorrectly by the religious as ridicule.

I received several "reported posts" from an unnamed member that was upset that I even brought the topic up. He/she demanded that I close the thread -free speech, criticism and inquiry be damned- as the topic is too controversial. His/her complaint included that the forum rules prohibit "provoking arguments."

I'd like to take a moment to impart a few things to that member:

1) "provoking arguments" is what this particular forum is about: arguments of abortion, gun control, school uniforms, evolution vs. creation, the Iraq war, etc.
2) that member's attitude is precisely why I started the thread: that somehow religion gets a free ride from discussion that "provokes" inquiry and inspires criticism.
3) revealing that "someone" reported the thread could NOT be considered a violation of confidentiality since I've not revealed your user name. So nana nana boo boo (that last bit is ridicule, by the way).


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Old 10-29-2006, 09:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
The Muhammed cartoon--I think a lot of newspapers didn't publish the cartoon because of a fear of retaliation by extremists. I think the fear was mistaken as fawning over the PCness of an Islamic cartoon.
If I were an editor and had seen what was going on in other countries, I might have thought twice about publishing it, too, especially if my office received any threats. I wouldn't want my offices or anyone in my city/state getting bombed for a one-time piece of humor.
This is exactly the reason why religion shouldn't be considered excempt from open criticism and ridicule. It's okay to riot and bomb, but not okay to publish a cartoon? If being offended is a good enough reason to kill someone in God's or Allah's or L. Ron Hubbard's name, then this God fellow must really be asleep on the job, and it's up to the lowly little humans down here to sort things out for themselves.

And whoever keeps complaining about this thread, chill out already.


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Old 10-29-2006, 10:48 AM   #8
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I'd publish the cartoon any day. It's the media's job to inform, not to take sides and try to avoid political provocations.

Yes, it's OK to ridicule mythologies, just like it's OK to ridicule politics.

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Old 10-29-2006, 12:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Is it fair to ridicule political ideology? Are political cartoons in the editorial pages of newspapers "going too far?"
You asked about religion, not politics. Those are two different things.
I follow politics rather closely, but I certainly don't feel nearly as strongly about politics that I do about religion. Well, OK, I feel strongly that we _really_ need far better candidates this next presidential cycle, but that's another topic entirely.

I think there needs to be a line drawn on how one lampoons religion. I can live with, say, Falwell, Dawkins, or bin Laden showing up in cartoons for something specific that they've said/done. I'm not thrilled to see the religion/lack thereof ridiculed, and I think it's rude to ridicule someone for their choice to believe or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
3) revealing that "someone" reported the thread could NOT be considered a violation of confidentiality since I've not revealed your user name. So nana nana boo boo (that last bit is ridicule, by the way).
You are _so_ bad.


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Old 10-29-2006, 12:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker

I'm not suggesting that religious people should be disrespected. Private beliefs should have respect. But when people make a public spectacle of their beliefs, criticism is warranted, particularly when these beliefs affect others. At this point, criticism and ridicule of the person should be expected. If, say, my neighbor persists in "witnessing" to me, should I refrain from offering my own opinion about his beliefs? If religious superstition is used to decide public policy, should not this superstition be challenged with criticism even ridicule? If an openly religious elected official has admitted to believing in superstitions regarding the Second Coming and other apocalyptic mumbo jumbo, shouldn't his dedication to the future of our nation be questioned? Wouldn't his decision to invade a nation governed by a theocracy that differed from his own be questionable?
Yes but the topic do say "Should we respect religion?". That is not the question we should answer to. The question we should answer to is: should we should we be able to critizise religion? There's a diffrens between critizising and disrespect me thinks...
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
You asked about religion, not politics. Those are two different things.

They are two different things, though one is often affected by the other -rightly or wrongly. My purpose for asking that question was to find out if you differentiate how politics is treated versus how religion is treated. Both involve beliefs that people feel strongly about. If we are to differentiate the two, why?

I think there needs to be a line drawn on how one lampoons religion.
The neat thing about ridicule is that when the lampooner goes to far, he/she loses an audience. In that sense, its a self-checking mechanism.

Take this political cartoon for instance. The image lampoons the physical stature of the N. Korean leader by comparing it to his global stature among nuclear powers.

In this cartoon, not only is his size a matter of ridicule, but the artist/author ridicules him using cultural stereotypes of linguistic ability. Though, the artist/author may really have been lampooning Foley's recent problems.

In each of these cartoons, ridicule is used at varying degree. I'd predict that more people would find offense to the last cartoon than the first because of the stereotypical language, even though this wasnt' the point of the cartoon.

I agree, that ridicule can be tasteless. But I still find it to be a form of free speech that shouldn't be limited. Also, that leaves the "offended" room to label legitimate criticism as "ridicule." My use of "superstition" and "magic" with regard to religion, for instance. The believer may see it differently, but to the freethinker, this is exactly what religion is.


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Old 10-29-2006, 01:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sockerbit89
Yes but the topic do say "Should we respect religion?". That is not the question we should answer to. The question we should answer to is: should we should we be able to critizise religion? There's a diffrens between critizising and disrespect me thinks...
Admittedly the thread title is pushed a bit to draw attention, however, I stick by the opening statement: should we moderate free speech with respect to religion?

Personally, I think there are many instances in which religious belief should not be respected out of necessity. They should be challenged and questioned. I also think there are instances and reasons to ridicule religious figures, such as Pat Robertson and the Sydney-based Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali.


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Old 10-29-2006, 02:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mace MacLeod
This is exactly the reason why religion shouldn't be considered excempt from open criticism and ridicule. It's okay to riot and bomb, but not okay to publish a cartoon? If being offended is a good enough reason to kill someone in God's or Allah's or L. Ron Hubbard's name, then this God fellow must really be asleep on the job, and it's up to the lowly little humans down here to sort things out for themselves.

And whoever keeps complaining about this thread, chill out already.
Are we being morally responsible by telling someone that their religious or social beliefs are flawed?

Keep in mind these are Star Wars/Lucas Forums, and the youngest of us is around 9 years old.



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Old 10-29-2006, 03:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeodGR
Are we being morally responsible by telling someone that their religious or social beliefs are flawed?
Would we be morally responsible by failing to inform someone that their religious and social beliefs are flawed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeodGR
Keep in mind these are Star Wars/Lucas Forums, and the youngest of us is around 9 years old.
All the more reason to offer an alternative perspective, particularly since there are those among us that view religious indoctrination as a form of child abuse. If the "youngest of us" are interested in reading about opposing perspectives of their religious indoctrinations, then they've come to the right place. If they want to discuss the latest Luke Skywalker skin for a game, they may want to look elsewhere.

But if its fair to indoctrinate children -to delude them with superstitions, why shouldn't it be fair to give them a balanced perspective so that they might begin to question their religion? If their faith is genuine and their religion real, shouldn't both be able to withstand inquiry.

I suspect what's really objected to in this case, is that reason and logic might win the day, and religious assumptions abandoned.


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Old 10-29-2006, 03:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeodGR
Keep in mind these are Star Wars/Lucas Forums, and the youngest of us is around 9 years old.
That's not quite true. There are seemingly younger people here, according to their birthdates, at least. It is of little consequence, however, since none of them have posted, much less been active on the forums, since about a year and a half ago.




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Old 10-29-2006, 03:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Would we be morally responsible by failing to inform someone that their religious and social beliefs are flawed?



All the more reason to offer an alternative perspective, particularly since there are those among us that view religious indoctrination as a form of child abuse. If the "youngest of us" are interested in reading about opposing perspectives of their religious indoctrinations, then they've come to the right place. If they want to discuss the latest Luke Skywalker skin for a game, they may want to look elsewhere.

But if its fair to indoctrinate children -to delude them with superstitions, why shouldn't it be fair to give them a balanced perspective so that they might begin to question their religion? If their faith is genuine and their religion real, shouldn't both be able to withstand inquiry.

I suspect what's really objected to in this case, is that reason and logic might win the day, and religious assumptions abandoned.
Personally, I think that is very dangerous thinking. Very dangerous indeed. I woudn't want a Star Wars fan site promoting to my children about how they believe religion should be approached. Tampering with a child's perspective underneath a influential tittle such as Star Wars is dangerous. Whithin the wrong hands, this subject can be twisted.

How would you feel if your kids were told by your neighbor that their beliefs were flawed? How would you feel if an influential name like Lucas was being used to promote to your kids that their religion is evil?



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Old 10-29-2006, 04:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeodGR
How would you feel if your kids were told by your neighbor that their beliefs were flawed?
I welcome it. I'm raising my daughter with the ability to think for herself and to question the world around her. If she wasn't skeptical of the neighbor's assertion or failed to question it, I'm not doing my job. I don't fear the information that she might be exposed to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeodGR
How would you feel if an influential name like Lucas was being used to promote to your kids that their religion is evil?
"Lucas" is not being used to promote anything. In the forum rules, #10 states, "[y]ou remain solely responsible for the content of your messages, and you agree to indemnify and hold us harmless with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your message(s)."

Furthermore, in the sticky in this forum titled "Read," it states, "we're looking for some more topics of a nature that may be too sensitive to be reasonably discussed in the Swamp. Abortion, gun-control, religion, foreign policy/politics, etc. all all be fair game here...".

Finally, if you've a problem that goes further, PM me or a SuperModerator or Administrator. Kurgan, El Sitherino, or StarWarsPhreak frequent this forum. The first is theistic and he and I frequently disagree on theistic matters and is capable of providing an objective opinion.


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Old 10-29-2006, 05:00 PM   #18
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I am going to let everyone continue to debate about this issue. I disagree with how this is approached, and I would forbid my future children from talking to stangers about something that is this sensitive in nature. I wouldn't mind if they did research on the topic by utilizing unbiased material, or to attend a school on this subject. My future children will be free thinkers, but they will get their information from a credited source.



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Old 10-29-2006, 07:34 PM   #19
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Anyone old enough to post in these forums should be old enough to read the stickied threads about the rules and purposes of this particular forum at the top of the page. Besides, do you really think a 9 year-old is going to have the attention span to wade through half the stuff on here? These threads are all boring, dry, grown-up stuff.

*edit* Nice thread in the feedback section of the KotOR forums, Mac. Remind me, what's this forum for?

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Old 10-30-2006, 01:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Would we be morally responsible by failing to inform someone that their religious and social beliefs are flawed?
It's my responsibility to train my children in religious/social beliefs, and no one else's. I may have help from other Christians in my church, but it's ultimately my parental responsibility. My children are too young to handle major social 'arguments and do not yet have the cognitive skills to think critically at this stage in their lives, their brains are not yet developed enough to handle that. The Westboro people think my religious beliefs are flawed and that it's their moral responsibility to inform me that I'm going to hell. Do you think I'd let any of them anywhere near my kids because they feel it's their 'moral responsibility' to save them? I don't think so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
All the more reason to offer an alternative perspective, particularly since there are those among us that view religious indoctrination as a form of child abuse.
Humor mode way on: By all means, call child protective services on me then.

And off on a tangent--I (in my professional role) and a school principal who called multiple times couldn't get CPS in our city to get off their butts to get 5 kids who were living in a van into emergency foster care--and in March in Wisconsin, it can still get really cold. I don't have to report abuse very often, thank goodness, but this was the only city I was ever in where I had to actually argue with the guy on how he could possibly think that 5 children living in a van was somehow appropriate. It was beyond surreal. Every other place I've worked, those kids would have been in emergency care as fast as CPS could get to them.

Anyway, CPS would laugh hysterically at any one of us reporting a parent for rabid religion/atheism 'indoctrination'. Any attempt to limit my training of my children in religion would be a violation of my freedom of religion rights and my rights as a parent to educate my children in that regard. If for some bizarre reason a law to that effect ever got passed, I would view that as undue interference with my right to raise my family as I see appropriate, and I'd be more than happy to join a bunch of other people of every religion in civil disobedience against a law that violates a number of basic human rights.

I want my kids to have a Christian base to work from. If, when they're older and decide to change to another religion or even no religion at all, they have a solid understanding of Christianity and why they disagree with it. What I don't want is the wishy-washy 'oh, I'll just let them pick something when they get old enough.' If you want your kids to be atheists, raise them that way. If you want them to be religious, raise them that way. But pick something to give them a base to work from.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
But if its fair to indoctrinate children -to delude them with superstitions, why shouldn't it be fair to give them a balanced perspective so that they might begin to question their religion? If their faith is genuine and their religion real, shouldn't both be able to withstand inquiry.
When they're developed enough cognitively, have fun debating. Until that point, my kids are my responsibility, just as everyone else's kids are their own responsibilities. It is not right for someone to undermine my parental authority with my kids any more than it's right for me to undermine your parental authority with your daughter or any other other parents with their own children.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I suspect what's really objected to in this case, is that reason and logic might win the day, and religious assumptions abandoned.
That would be a heck of an assumption in my case. :)


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Old 10-30-2006, 03:28 AM   #21
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Definetly, we should respect every religion, and people's right to follw the religion of their choosing. Problems arise when people believe in commiting acts of terror based on their religion, whether it be actual terrorism or the belief homosexuals should be wiped out. That's not the fault of the religion, it's the fault of the person or people. The water carriers in the Middle East that claim they wage holy war, they don't really follow religion, they just use it as an excuse to sway others and try to justify their injustifiable actions.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:29 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeodGR
Are we being morally responsible by telling someone that their religious or social beliefs are flawed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Would we be morally responsible by failing to inform someone that their religious and social beliefs are flawed?
It's my responsibility to train my children in religious/social beliefs, and no one else's.
At that point in the discussion, I was referring to "someone" of cognitively capable age. I would no more presume to convince a young their religious beliefs are superstition than I would to convince them that safe-sex is a good practice. They're both valid ideas, but as you so rightly point out, their cognitive skills probably aren't developed enough yet.

Like I said, I was referring to "someone" in the closer to adult sense. The "young children" thing came up a bit later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
My children are too young to handle major social 'arguments and do not yet have the cognitive skills to think critically at this stage in their lives, their brains are not yet developed enough to handle that.
Then you aren't teaching them stories about sky-gods, Santa Claus, and Jesus? Surely this is the best time to teach them through repetition the belief system that you want them to accept out-of-hand as adults. Teach them critical thinking skills later, after they've been thoroughly indoctrinated in whatever superstitions are necessary to perpetuate the virus of faith. That way, they'll be more likely to be skeptical about everything except what you don't want them to be.

I'm not picking on you as an individual, Jae. As a meme, religion is a powerful one. Most of the religious accept their beliefs and wouldn't dare question them simply because they've believed them all their lives. They've been told time and again by the people the trust most that this is the truth. This is why Muslim parents teach their kids Muslim beliefs; Christian parents teach Jesus beliefs; Hindu parents teach reincarnation and karma; Andean highlanders teach of Apu; and so on. They can't all be right, otherwise there wouldn't be so many different, often contradictory, religions. There would be one.

And children are naturally credulous, which is probably an evolutionary advantage so they accept these beliefs without inquiry. If a parent tells their child not to play near the street; run with scissors; to avoid talking to strangers, it is not advantageous to test these assertions.

I think to children growing up in places like Ireland who attend schools that are comprised only of Catholics or Protestants. Is it any wonder that these children grow to be adults that still have difficulty working out their differences? How can you label a child as Catholic or Protestant or Muslim when they haven't the cognitive ability to understand the beliefs they are assigned? We can no more say a child is of a particular religious faith than we can say a child is a Republican or Democrat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
I want my kids to have a Christian base to work from.
Is it a "Christian base" or an indoctrination? Some indoctrinations can be healthy, I suppose. Language and mathematics are indoctrinated. At the end of the day, I'd be willing to be that my daughter and your kids had values that are very similar. I agree with nearly every single moral value that Jesus is attributed as having taught. But I see these and others as humanist values. I don't teach my daughter that she should treat others with kindness and act with charity or turn the other cheek because a religious figure did. She learns this is the right way to be because her parents live this way. And when I make mistakes, I'm usually quick to point them out to my daughter if I think she'll understand so she can learn from them and see that humility and honesty are virtues of a good leader.


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Old 10-30-2006, 11:37 AM   #23
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What got me upset about this thread was this:

Tittle: Should We Respect Religion?
Opening Line: Should we moderate free speech with respect for religious opinion and belief?

These are two different questions. I am all for free speech. Most of my comments come from a fear that the threads will tread towards offensive material. In some of the threads I have seen, they have shown visible signs of hatred towards a social group. I am also worried about the moral impact these threads will have on our younger visitors.

What got me immediatly upset was how the first post and tittle were approached. You have taken two distinct questions, and turned them into a fight for free speech. I call that irresponsible.

Should we respect religion? Yes. We should respect that people have different religious beliefs, and to those believers they have a freedom to exercise their religion.

Should we moderate free speech with respect for religious opinion and belief? Yes. Let me explain. The moderators should censor offensive posts, which may cause anguish or flamming. When a person walks into a thread and says, "God is like Hitler" - or - "Christians should shut their mouths.", this provokes flamming, anguish, and it is very offensive to others.

-----------

On a similar subject, but not directed to this particualar issue.:::
What had occured in another thread was that, I told someone to 'shut up', and I received a post edditing and a warning. (rightfully desirved, for I flammed.)

However, I was reacting to a post that said, "Christians are hypocrates, and Christians should shut their mouths." I received a warning and a post edit for saying 'shut up' to the poster, but their posts went unedited, and they went without a public warning. You see a moderator should have edited their posts as well. My post was mild compaired to the other's post. When I stood up to defend my beliefs, I got hit with a post edit and a warning. When they out right flammed at my beliefs, the moderators acted like nothing happened.

Does this sound like we have a Anti-Christian problem in these forums? Or, do we have moderator and moral issues problem, which needs to be addressed.



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Old 10-30-2006, 11:40 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacLeodGR
Should we moderate free speech with respect for religious opinion and belief? Yes. Let me explain. The moderators should censor offensive posts, which may cause anguish or flamming. When a person walks into a thread and says, "God is like Hitler" - or - "Christians should shut their mouths.", this provokes flamming, anguish, and it is very offensive to others.
Ah. I can see how that might be confusing. I wasn't using the term "moderate" in the sense of being a "moderator" for an internet forum. I was using it in the broad, societal sense in that society as a whole should moderate it's respect for religion rather than allow for criticism.

I'm talking about society in this thread. Not a forum. My apologies for being unclear.

And the questions really are the same when you put them in that context.


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Old 10-30-2006, 11:55 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Ah. I can see how that might be confusing. I wasn't using the term "moderate" in the sense of being a "moderator" for an internet forum. I was using it in the broad, societal sense in that society as a whole should moderate it's respect for religion rather than allow for criticism.

I'm talking about society in this thread. Not a forum. My apologies for being unclear.

And the questions really are the same when you put them in that context.
If this was to occur in the general public, that would be another issue at hand. When you are talking society as a whole, I can see how people would take offense to those who go out there and say, "My god is better than yours.". And I think it would be irresponsible for believers to use their religion to get laws passed. I can see them making a moral issue, and then debating on an issues impact on society.

Within a forums such as these, I believe that people should use restraint in being anti or pro religious. Moderating posts will help the forums maintain civility, and everyone wins when tolerance is exercised.



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Old 10-30-2006, 01:03 PM   #26
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I'm still not going to restrict free speech with regard to people's opinion about religion. As long as their are no ad hominem remarks, profanity, spam or links to illegal sites/porn.

Religion is superstition and a virus of the mind.


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Old 10-30-2006, 05:24 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I'm still not going to restrict free speech with regard to people's opinion about religion. As long as their are no ad hominem remarks, profanity, spam or links to illegal sites/porn.

Religion is superstition and a virus of the mind.
Well, I take offense to your last statement. You did it intentionally, and you are trying to provoke a reaction. I find your comment insensitive to anyone who has a belief, and provoking a flame war is against forum rules. Am I wrong?



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Old 10-30-2006, 05:58 PM   #28
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Actually, he did nothing against forum rules. The rules state that "You cannot, in any way, insult (or "flame") someone else on the board."

Skinwalker has not insulted anybody on this board, he has made clear his opinion on a subject. If you were to react to his statement by making attacks against HIM, as opposed to his opinions, then you would be in violation of the rules.

There is also a forum rule "Do not hound current moderators or admins." Which you seem to be intent on doing in this thread. I would advise that you desist, and either leave this thread, or helpfully join in the discussion.



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Old 10-30-2006, 06:41 PM   #29
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Quote:
Are we being morally responsible by telling someone that their religious or social beliefs are flawed?
That depends on their social view. I find it irresponsible to indoctrinate a person into disliking homosexuals, but I'd welcome it if someone was to reassure a Holocaust denier that the horrific acts in the Death Camps actually took place.

Quote:
How would you feel if an influential name like Lucas was being used to promote to your kids that their religion is evil?
That would depend entirely on my view on religion.

Bottom line: Religion/mythology is not more sacred than politics. Yes, it's emotionally sensitive, but hey, aren't politics as well? Haven't they always been?

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Old 10-30-2006, 10:50 PM   #30
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I'm curious as to what form of moderation you have in mind SW. Face it, American pop culture is hardly restrained in it's expressions of disdain for religion (at least as far as Christianity goes). There is no public prohibition on people mocking, deriding, or otherwise ridiculing such beliefs in the forms of literature, movies, plays, editorials, music or even the internet. You can say just about anything w/regard as to how regressive "organized religion" is and suffer little/no penalty.
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:00 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
At that point in the discussion, I was referring to "someone" of cognitively capable age. I would no more presume to convince a young their religious beliefs are superstition than I would to convince them that safe-sex is a good practice. They're both valid ideas, but as you so rightly point out, their cognitive skills probably aren't developed enough yet.
Ah, got it. The 'safe sex' discussion would be really funny because my son's at the age where kissing is equivalent to handling raw sewage in disgusting-ness. Actually, I take that back. Boogers and body fluids/noises are seriously cool, and kissing is to be avoided on pain of death or embarrassment, whichever comes last.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Then you aren't teaching them stories about sky-gods, Santa Claus, and Jesus?
Of course I teach them about Christ--there are a lot of great lessons to learn, and the Bible has had a tremendous influence on history, culture, and literature, aside from the spiritual aspects. Did you expect anything different from a Christian? Sta-puf guy is Right Out, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Surely this is the best time to teach them through repetition the belief system that you want them to accept out-of-hand as adults. Teach them critical thinking skills later, after they've been thoroughly indoctrinated in whatever superstitions are necessary to perpetuate the virus of faith. That way, they'll be more likely to be skeptical about everything except what you don't want them to be.
As soon as they've developed enough to think critically, I'll work with them on that, because the sooner they can develop a 'crap detector', the better. I don't teach them the critical thought processes for the defense of Christianity--arguments by people like Lewis and Craig would be way over their heads. So we spend time on things like the Good Samaritan and other positive things Christ did. Since I don't subscribe to Dawkin's views on the rather amusing and a bit over-the-top description of the 'virus of faith' (people can choose to be different faiths or no faith, cells can't choose to become uninfected), I don't have issues with instructing my kids in the basics of Christianity. That does not preclude them from learning about other religions/belief systems, however.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I'm not picking on you as an individual, Jae.
I generally try not to take these things personally. Being perpetually 29 helps, though I don't always succeed, particularly if I've had a really crappy day over in the realm of Real Life. If I get ticked off, I'll try to remember to ask if what you're saying and what I'm understanding are the same since the lack of non-verbal cues makes it harder at times (can't promise I'll remember on that but I'll try) and I usually don't have a problem letting someone know I'm annoyed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
As a meme, religion is a powerful one. Most of the religious accept their beliefs and wouldn't dare question them simply because they've believed them all their lives. They've been told time and again by the people the trust most that this is the truth.
Questioning beliefs can be a major paradigm shift for some, but if God struck down those of us who did ask questions, a lot of us would be very dead right now. When my kids have questions, I don't plan to berate them for some lack of faith--that would be counterproductive. I plan on working with them so they can resolve the issues, and if resolving those issues means switching religions or dropping religion, I can live with that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
This is why Muslim parents teach their kids Muslim beliefs; Christian parents teach Jesus beliefs; Hindu parents teach reincarnation and karma; Andean highlanders teach of Apu; and so on. They can't all be right, otherwise there wouldn't be so many different, often contradictory, religions. There would be one.
Now there's another thread topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
And children are naturally credulous, which is probably an evolutionary advantage so they accept these beliefs without inquiry. If a parent tells their child not to play near the street; run with scissors; to avoid talking to strangers, it is not advantageous to test these assertions.
Of course, it doesn't always stop kids from doing those things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I think to children growing up in places like Ireland who attend schools that are comprised only of Catholics or Protestants. Is it any wonder that these children grow to be adults that still have difficulty working out their differences?
I think that may be making the Irish situation far more simplistic than it actually is. We have school systems in parts of the US where 1 school is predominantly white and 1 predominantly black, but both are made up of Christians. They have difficulties getting along together as adults, too, so it can't be merely a religious issue. The Irish conflict can't simply be a fight over whether bread and wine are transubstantiated or not. Drifting into the absurd....I've never seen any rally signs that say "Eucharist ftw!" or "Down with the Confessional!" It's a fight over who controls government and the land, and therefore the power.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
How can you label a child as Catholic or Protestant or Muslim when they haven't the cognitive ability to understand the beliefs they are assigned? We can no more say a child is of a particular religious faith than we can say a child is a Republican or Democrat.
Well, my kids go to church every week, and they identify with the place of worship and our choice of faith at this point in their lives, even if they don't completely understand everything. If we went to political rallies every week, they'd probably identify themselves along those lines, too, though they wouldn't fully understand that, either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Is it a "Christian base" or an indoctrination?
I have the sneaking suspicion that one person's 'Christian base' is another person's 'indoctrination'. I doubt we'll be able to change each other's minds on that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
At the end of the day, I'd be willing to be that my daughter and your kids had values that are very similar.
And I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were very close to the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I agree with nearly every single moral value that Jesus is attributed as having taught. But I see these and others as humanist values. I don't teach my daughter that she should treat others with kindness and act with charity or turn the other cheek because a religious figure did. She learns this is the right way to be because her parents live this way.
Then the only real difference is that in our family we acknowledge that there is something out there that's greater than us who sent Christ to serve as a virtuous example (among other things), but agree with most of the fundamental values Christ represents. Is that difference enough to engender ridicule?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
And when I make mistakes, I'm usually quick to point them out to my daughter if I think she'll understand so she can learn from them and see that humility and honesty are virtues of a good leader.
Oh, yeah, been there, done that, have the rueful smile to prove it. I've always felt that refusing to admit I'm wrong is dishonest to my kids and breaks their trust in me. But you'll get me going on parenting philosophy and I'll end up seriously derailing the thread talking about kids.


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Old 10-31-2006, 01:38 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
Religion is superstition and a virus of the mind.
For which there is no vaccination or cure for those infected.

BTW: Happy Reformation Day!


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Old 10-31-2006, 08:28 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
I think to children growing up in places like Ireland who attend schools that are comprised only of Catholics or Protestants. Is it any wonder that these children grow to be adults that still have difficulty working out their differences? How can you label a child as Catholic or Protestant or Muslim when they haven't the cognitive ability to understand the beliefs they are assigned? We can no more say a child is of a particular religious faith than we can say a child is a Republican or Democrat.
That is taking the Irish school system just a bit simplisticly. The real divisions between Protestant and Catholic are predominantly up in the North and have far more to do with the legacy of bloodthirsty terrorist groups, British colonial bigotry and persecution against Catholics by the Unionist governmental authorities (ie Royal Ulster Constabulary) rather than just internalized sectarianism about the religious schism itself. But when you take away the violence, Northern Irish politicians are now being seen by the general population as the petty, squabbling, local-minded intolerant wankers they really are. Particularly the Rev. Ian Paisley, legendary champion of extremist Protestant loyalists and (among other things) the driving force behind the 1970's "Save Ulster From Sodomy" campaign. The newspapers are all agog over the new St. Andrews Agreement, which might just revive the Stormont government and finally allow real power-sharing between Protestants and Catholics in the North, but it's a bit of a downer that you still can't get Ian Paisley in the same room with Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness. However, I digress.

Down here in the Republic of Ireland where my family has lived for about a year and a half now, my daughter attend a Catholic school, not that we really have any choice in the matter. We aren't Catholics or even Christians ourselves, and as such, (not so) little Miss MacLeod isn't required to formally take the religion or Irish Language classes, but she's still in the room when they teach them. Now do we, her parents, have a problem with that? No. Ireland is a Catholic country, and we all knew that when we moved here. I don't believe it to be a matter of indoctrination into Catholicism just because they teach religion in schools here, nor do I treat the national spirituality to be some sort of mental virus to be shunned at all costs. Now, if they demanded she pray daily to a large picture of St. Patrick or Bobby Sands, then I'd have a problem.


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Old 10-31-2006, 09:04 AM   #34
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Thank you for that clarification. I was most definitely viewing the situation more simplistically than it would seem to be.


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Old 10-31-2006, 06:21 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET Warrior
Actually, he did nothing against forum rules. The rules state that "You cannot, in any way, insult (or "flame") someone else on the board."

Skinwalker has not insulted anybody on this board, he has made clear his opinion on a subject. If you were to react to his statement by making attacks against HIM, as opposed to his opinions, then you would be in violation of the rules.

There is also a forum rule "Do not hound current moderators or admins." Which you seem to be intent on doing in this thread. I would advise that you desist, and either leave this thread, or helpfully join in the discussion.
Couldn't I take his comment as an insult to my religion?



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Old 10-31-2006, 06:43 PM   #36
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You can take it however you like. The fact remains that it is his opinion and not directed against a specific person thus, he has not violated any rules. You are free to disagree with him, but any ad hominem remarks are not allowed. I recommend you follow ET's advice and contribute with substantive arguments, rather than baiting staff members, which will get you nowhere fast. And what ever happened to "I am going to let everyone continue to debate about this issue"? Seems to me like you were about ready to leave when you made this statement. Similar things can be said about your signature.

On-topic: I believe religion should be afforded the same amount of respect that an opinion or belief holds. Opinions may be criticized and debated upon reasonably and without resulting in insults and hurt feelings in spite of the often provocative nature of opinions on religion. I believe in one thing and you can say I'm wrong and debate with me about it, but I trust that you'll respect the fact that that is what I believe.




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Old 10-31-2006, 06:47 PM   #37
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Couldn't I take your religion and opinions as an insult to my rationalism?

Look, take my comments the way you want. Any society that starts moderating itself with regard to the sensibilities of every group that comprises its multicultural makeup is a society that is in its beginning stages of decline. If my neighbor from Sudan believes that female genital mutilation is okay, should I be sensitive to his beliefs knowing that when his daughter turns twelve, she'll be held down for a clitorectomy -or worse? That's an extreme example, to be sure, but this is a religious belief that is held by people who have immigrated to the United States. Understanding this and your complaint of insult begs the question: where is the line to be drawn with regard to criticism of religion. I can reference and source my assertion that your religion is superstition and mythology, making it a fair criticism. That would, however, be another thread.

In the end, you don't have to read the thread. Therefore, you need not endure the insult. And your worry of the sensibilities of others, while admirable, isn't your responsibility. This is the internet, not a daycare or elementary school. If you infer an insult because your religion is criticized, then that says more about your faith than my criticism. It occurs to me that what people who fear criticism of religion are truly afraid of is apostasy, and I'm reminded of the religious nutters that killed nuns and priests because the Pope dared discuss the words of a Byzantine religious leader whom he clearly indicated a disagreement with.

Another contentious point in this thread centers upon ridicule as a legitimate form of criticism. My assertion is that, while it isn't necessarily favorable in many situations, it is legitimate as criticism. I admit that it isn't always done well and frequently can be very tasteless, but there are also many instances in which the ridicule is warranted and appropriate. Political cartoons are a form of ridicule, yet I see not a single objection. Comedy skits on Saturday Night Live and late night television are forms of ridicule, yet most people accept these for what they are: satirical and comedic perspective of people who probably take themselves far too seriously.

Ridicule is a device of criticism that seems to get the most objections from the credulous. I think this is likely because there is a fear that the ridicule is well-placed. The credulous have a hard enough time defending their credulity against reason without having to deal with being laughed at. As someone once said, "who can refute a sneer?" But ridicule is a powerful form of criticism, and one that many societies throughout history have used with success in maintaining societal order. The !Kung San of the Kalahari still use it (assuming any of the !Kung remain) as do several Polynesian societies that I can think of.

If the position of the credulous was worth what they insist it to be, then goofy notions like goblins, ESP, dowsing, witchcraft, reiki, alien abductions, gods, 'intelligent' design, talking to the dead, fortune telling, magnetic insoles, tinfoil hats, and so on would all be able to withstand the test of ridicule. Religious nutters like Kent Hovind and Pat Robertson ridicule science and scientists all the time -nearly every time they speak in public. Very few scientists pay them a bit of attention, because in the grand scheme of things, the ridicule of a few religious nutters doesn't threaten the validity of science.

Regardless of your personal opinion about ridicule, I'm curious if you would advocate legislation that restricts any public remarks that are considered to be "rude" to religious feelings? Earlier this year, the British Parliament nearly passed a Racial and Religious Hatred bill that included provisos that would have made it illegal to be rude toward a religion or religious person. This would have included insulting words or jokes about religion. The bill lost by a single vote, ironically the bill's chief proponent was Tony Blair, who had gone home early and didn't vote. But in Britain, the BBC isn't even allowed to use the term "Islamic Terrorist," even though the subway bombings were conducted by terrorists who were Islamic.



In the spirit of ridicule in the form of criticism, I offer the following cartoon;



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Old 10-31-2006, 07:17 PM   #38
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I'm so deeply offended at the lack of sensitivity in the portrayal of dress of my Native American ancestors, I just can't begin to imagine what to do.


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Old 10-31-2006, 07:26 PM   #39
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Not all ridicule is deeply offensive.

Though, there are undoubtedly those who find such a cartoon deeply offensive (or make a display as though they do).


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Old 10-31-2006, 10:13 PM   #40
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The last thing anyone wants is a repeat of the Mohammed cartoons, or be so wrapped up in their religion that they act like the bastard who said Western women deserve to be raped because they don't wear abayas. That bull**** shows you are intolerant. Take your religion, or lack of it, seriously by all means, as seriously as you want. But be open minded enough to be able to accept other people's views, even if you think they're wrong. I disagree with a lot of Muslim views (treatment of women for example) but that's their way of life, I just have to wear it. If it were harmful I'd protest.
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