Religion Doesn’t Get a Free Ride

Sorry, but it just doesn’t.

There are more comments in the post than any other on Breaking Spells (and I’m not ashamed to admit the Pharyngula Effect is fun while it lasts) and some of them revolve around the issue of “respecting” religious superstitions and not speaking out about nonsense and irrational ideas in favor of considering the sensibilities of the superstitious themselves.

Bullshit. I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works. You don’t get to hold or have a batshit idea that you’re willing to spread, indoctrinate, or otherwise compell others to agree with and still be protected from rational criticism or even ridicule.

Its no different than if someone held a belief that Elvis was still alive and abducting hillbillies from his UFO and not only expected others to believe it but wanted to enact laws that protected and promoted this ideology as fact. Anyone would be well within their rights to criticize this notion and ridicule would be expected.

A eucharist cracker is just flour and water. Anyone that truly believes that the mere act of consuming a cracker after a magical spell spoken over it becomes the flesh of Christ is not only ignorant and deluded, they’re batshit. Have these people ever stopped to consider that, if true, they would eventually be defecating Christ? Talk about “holy shit.”

Back to the comments.

At least one person here and several on Pharyngula and elsewhere commented that PZ shouldn’t disrespect the religious. And it’s a common response by believers, adherents, apologetics, and even sympathetic non-believers that atheists shouldn’t criticize the beliefs of others. There’s a taboo of even questioning religious doctrine in public. When critics and skeptics do question and criticize, they get accused of being “militant,” “shrill,” a part of an “anti-religious kabal,” etc.

Never is the superstitious person (a.k.a. the irrational believer/adherent) held accountable in such a fashion for criticizing atheism -the complete lack of a god belief. Indeed, religious nuts are completely free to ridicule atheism, protected by the comfort of their numbers. But the large quantity of believers doesn’t imply that religious belief is valid, sound, or cogent. At one time, most people in the world believed the sun revolved around the Earth. Their majority status most assuredly did not make them right.

Religious superstitions are just as open to question, criticism, and ridicule as any other human institution or ideal. Political beliefs, economic beliefs, social beliefs… even the belief in a favorite sports team are all open to debate, criticism, inquiry and ridicule. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have multiple political parties, a need for a prime interest rate, a reason to evaluate historical and anthropological data, or to wear a favorite jersey the day of the big game.

There mere fact that religion takes such a major and significant part in the lives of so many people makes it even more open to question, criticism, inquiry and, yes, even ridicule. If you aren’t willing to accept this, keep your religious superstitions to yourself; keep them private; and be embarassed for your lack of rational and critical thought. For, if you are publicly proud, you must be prepared to be publicly criticized.


8 Responses

  1. Thank you for actually saying it as it is. It seems religious folk feel they have rights that the non-religious are not privy to. Most of the religious practices date back to the dark ages and before and yet are still seen as acceptable practice while no one would accept a butcher who still uses such out-dated methods.

    Religion is about questioning. If you forget to question the very religion you hold near and dear you’re making a vital mistake in your quest to become closer to God. Forget eating crackers and drinking wine; question question question.

  2. Woven.
    Christianity is woven throughout our entire nation, being the very fabric that makes up these islands. It keeps the judgement of God from falling on us that is why we have been preserved from the many wars that have buffeted our shores.

    We need never feel that the darkness that comes upon us is permanent, for the light of Christ will always prevail by dispersing it with his glory. We need not be troubled by wicked people, for our God is surely dealing with them. I am amazed when I see Christianity in all our great institutions, I cannot begin to speak of all our workforce, builders, lawyers, nurses, miners, factory workers, who make our nation so great and confess Christ Jesus as Lord, Well, the list is never ending, where God’s people can be found, Christianity is literally everywhere. It cannot and will not ever be removed from these islands.

    Do not listen to doom prophets, when you hear them say things for example, like the abortion issue, they say, “surely this will bring God’s wrath upon us all, for that wicked thing that people do to our unborn children.” Well, God’s judgement will fall on them that commit such horrific killings, but I assure you, the righteous will not be included in God’s judgement.
    We remember how God’s mercy is shown to us in Genesis 18:24-26, I quote,
    “Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked that be far from thee: Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord said, if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”

    You can see from this scripture that God will surely spare our nation, because there are more than fifty righteous Christians living here. Now Jesus has told us that this world is inhabited by the children of the kingdom and the children of the wicked, and that He will not bring final judgement on the wicked until the end of the world, because He will not destroy the wicked while the righteous are here.

    At the end of the world Jesus said in St Matthew 13: 41, – 43, “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”And so, that is how we can be confident that God will not let us be overwhelmed by these recent troubles that we face in our nation. Praise God, for every born-again believer that God has placed in our lands.


  3. I think the comment above proves how batshit religious nutjobs are. Quoting bronze age literature doesn’t make you right. It just proves how deluded you are if you build your life around completely unprovable beliefs and superstitions. And that you understood nothing that was written in this blog entry. If you speak of God’s mercy, you clearly haven’t read your Bible. The God portrait in this book is clearly a misogynistic barbarian who loves to force his own silly and ever changing ideas upon his followers.

    Religion deserves no respect at all. All it deserves is to be banished to the personal lives of people who really wish to believe this shit (because I do believe it is anyone’s right to believe in God) but it needs to be completely kicked out of public life. I don’t see the world the way you do, and in fact about 80% of the world’s population don’t believe in God; they believe in another God or Gods, or no God at all. You have no right to force your backward medieval morals on the rest of us. Especially if you have no evidence whatsoever that these believes are actually true.

    Awesome post, totally agree with it; religion DOESN’T get a free ride.

  4. if you are publicly proud, you must be prepared to be publicly criticized.

    Amen, Brother! Great post. I agree with you completely.

    BTW, I think cornishevangelist cut and pasted his comment over on (((Billy’s))) blog today too. I guess it’s a “thought of the day” or something that he’s spreading around like manure.

  5. I am reminded of Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean / Blackadder) defending the right to ridicule religious beliefs: and

  6. if you are publicly proud, you must be prepared to be publicly criticized.

    That sums it up better than any other statement I’ve read on the topic.

  7. cornishevangelist “It keeps the judgement of God from falling on us that is why we have been preserved from the many wars that have buffeted our shores.”
    Tell that to the Indians or those that fell after the Declaration of Independence or the Civil War.

    “Do not listen to doom prophets…”
    We don’t. The Robertons and Hagees of the world don’t count us as members of their audience, thank god.

  8. Damn you, no preview button!

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