The Raving Theist

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Because Religion is False

September 29, 2005 | 23 Comments

How is criticizing and attacking religion any better than being attacked for a lack of faith?

Asked by Jill, in comment to Feministe

Comments

23 Responses to “Because Religion is False”

  1. Stephen
    September 29th, 2005 @ 3:47 pm

    Obviously it’s better because it’s criticizing and attacking, rather than just merely attacking. Two against one.

  2. borgia
    September 29th, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

    How is criticizing and attacking believers in Santa Claus any better than being attacked for lack of faith in Santa Claus’ existence?

  3. Kamikaze189
    September 29th, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

    Religion is a delusion. It is in conflict with reality. A lack of faith is logical.

    I criticize religion just as much as I would criticize any other delusional, absurd, belief (such as racism).

  4. a different tim
    September 29th, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

    It’s more fun, and you get burned at the stake less when you’re doing the attacking.

  5. Mijae
    September 29th, 2005 @ 6:31 pm

    It is not the act of criticism itself that is an offensive thing.

    That deserves to be repeated a few times. It is not the act of criticism itself that is an offensive thing. When a religious person complains about atheists or an atheist position, the right response is not to demonize criticism overall, because that’s not the problem. The problem is criticism without merit.

    If someone criticizes me for being an atheist simply because their book says that atheism is wrong, and they have no other reasons, and they aren’t about to listen to any of my responses because their book also said not to listen to atheists, damn right that would piss me off, and I wouldn’t want to ever do similar behavior myself.

    But if they criticized one of my arguments for atheism, saying that my particular argument made no sense, and showed why they thought so, that could actually be a worthwhile conversation. Even if they weren’t very kind about it, I could actually get something out of it.

    The demonization of any attempts at serious criticism in the subject of religion (and only that subject for some reason) is more like the theist’s objection in the first category. Criticizing someone’s political opinions is okay, but criticizing someone’s religious opinions is wrong? Why? Because people on the internet say so!

  6. Aeger
    September 29th, 2005 @ 9:45 pm

    Ya, what she said

  7. Percy
    September 29th, 2005 @ 10:47 pm

    Mijae,

    “If someone criticizes me for being an atheist simply because their book says that atheism is wrong, and they have no other reasons, and they aren’t about to listen to any of my responses because their book also said not to listen to atheists, damn right that would piss me off, and I wouldn’t want to ever do similar behavior myself.”

    I’m curious how you view blanket statements, such as Kamikaze189’s (post 3). As you have stated, believing someone to be wrong simply because a book said so is illogical. In order to make such comments, you must believe your worldview (which depends on said book) to be true. But would not agree that believing *any* religion to be “a delusion”, “a conflict with reality”, etc., to be illogical as well, since to make such a comment you also have to assume that your worldview (atheism) is true? What I’m saying is, if you do not know all the answers, do you believe that it’s wise to make blanket statements about someone else’s worldview?

  8. Mijae
    September 30th, 2005 @ 3:21 am

    Whether a blanket statement is true or not cannot be judged simply by pointing out the fact it is a blanket statement. Although by their nature, they may be easier to disprove on the fly than more detailed statements…

    I’m not sure how you progressed to suggest that believing your worldview is true, and thus making a comment about that, is irrational. But I suspect you meant something about the circular nature of many theist arguments. They believe atheists are wrong because their book and their worldview said so, but why do they believe the book? Because the book says it’s true?

    I don’t see how even the blanket statements of comment 3 match this. They are certainly wide-sweeping blanket statements. But while Kamikaze didn’t take time to show his supporting arguments and evidence, I doubt he is putting those positions forward just because “Atheism says so.” Or that he’s saying religion isn’t true because he just assumes it isn’t true. They would require support before he should expect anyone to listen to it as anything other than revealing his own position, but in this discussion, that’s all I thought it was supposed to be.

    If we were having a straight theism-vs-atheism debate, trying to convince each other that either God exists, or He doesn’t, and that was all Kamikaze put forward, as if that was the argument, or the actual proof, then yes, that would be just as stupid. Because those statements are not an actual argument. They are simply statements of his position.

    To help flesh out those positions a bit while I’m here at least, I’ll give you my standard replies. If you’re going to define “religion” in the way that fishing or golf or video games can be a religion, meaning “anything that anyone takes kind of seriously in their life,” then fine, be open-minded all you want. But that hardly seems to be the same issue that has sparked debate for ages, and gets people on the internet so worked up.

    The “religion” I would make such blanket statements about myself, the religion worth arguing about, is really wrapped around the idea of the supernatural. The idea that there’s some other realm out there where the rules of the natural realm don’t apply, where the natural realm can’t even really know or understand or observe it… and yet it’s claimed to interact with the natural world all the time. Or the idea of faith. The idea that people can, or should know things without knowing them. I certainly think all of that is irrational, not out of some mean-spirited close-minded attempt to attack religion because it’s not what I think, but by definition. Why complain when something that’s claimed to be “beyond logic” gets called illogical?

  9. dj357
    September 30th, 2005 @ 4:56 am

    hmm….i think she’s answered her own question there. To criticise religion, you need to be on the other side of it, where you can think for yourself, and once you can do that, you can understand WHY we should criticise and attack something so mind-controlling and braindead as religion

  10. mike
    September 30th, 2005 @ 12:55 pm

    Mijae points out why it

  11. Reluctant Atheist
    September 30th, 2005 @ 3:38 pm

    Percy: you said “As you have stated, believing someone to be wrong simply because a book said so is illogical.”
    This may be true, but if we cut to the book itself, that is so rife w/contradictions, historical mistakes, detached anectdotes, supernatural nonsense and far too many failed ‘prophecies’, well, then, the source is corrupt. Not to mention said book has such a propensity for abuse, that it’s very message is rendered invalid.
    Ultimately, if we cut to the core, and the core is corrupt, we toss it. Simple as that.

  12. Alex
    October 1st, 2005 @ 12:23 pm

    How is criticizing and attacking religion any better than being attacked for a lack of faith?

    This question like many is worded quite shit in my opinion.

    I dont really know how to answer this, i live in Australia i rarly get bible bashing freaks trying to force their shit onto me, exept at school… But they dont try to change me because they dont know my atheist situation…

    Although i offen like to argue / debate, with the few religiouse people in my year/grade. Although as usual no one is even religiouse, they only worship themselves and say they are religiouse so they can ‘hopefully reach heaven / an afterlife of some description…

    In my opinion i guess its better because i’m atheist and am ‘proud’ of that… I stand by being atheist, so i see nothing bad in being attacked for that… I’d much rather attack a religion because once again it re-inforces my diss-likes / hate for religion.

    Therefore :

    I guess a simple answer to the question is, How / Why is it better to attack and criticizing another person. Then to be the one being mentally or physically abused…

    Its always more comfortable to abuse someone or something else, but is harder when it happens to you…
    And also as i said If someone beleives in the ‘atheist philosophy’ then they shouldnt care if they are being questioned / abused for not following a faith Because it basically re-emphisizes their lack of faith to society and themself…

  13. Jill
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 4:01 am

    Wow, way to misquote me and take what I said out of context. I’m wondering when you’re gonna get bored with this. I mean, your life seems pretty awesome — reading my blog and thinking of things to argue about — but at some point, you may want to consider the fact that there’s more out there. I realize that I’m an incredibly compelling, engaging person and I’m hard to leave, but you really need to move on, RA. I can’t be your whole life any more. You’re just going to have to find something else to focus your energy on. It’s not you, darling, it’s me (and by that I mean, it really is you; you are insane). Best of luck. There are lots of fish in the sea.

  14. leon
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 9:03 am

    “How is criticizing and attacking religion any better than being attacked for a lack of faith?” is equivalent to “How is criticizing and attacking football any better than being attacked for a lack of the football enthusiasm?”

    Hmmmmm…

    It would make more sense to say, “How is criticizing and attacking religion any better than criticizing and attacking atheism?”, or, “How is being attacked for having faith any better than being attacked for a lack of faith?”

  15. leon
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 9:07 am

    But religion is just simply STUPID! And it deserves to be criticized often and fiercely.

  16. The Raving Atheist
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 9:46 am

    Jill,

    I don’t see how I’ve changed your question in any material way, and the context is supplied by the link to the original comment. I also don’t see how the context changes the question in any way.

    I explained in your comments section yesterday why you are not my hobby. I think your hobby is imagining that you’re my hobby. As to my sanity, why don’t you try running an atheism/abortion blog for three years and see what happens to your mind. And why is criticizing and attacking my insanity any better than being attacked for a lack of insanity?

    In any event, as I indicated yesterday, I will leave you in peace. And as a gesture of good faith, I will immediately change the Question of the Day.

  17. Mijae
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 2:16 pm

    (Too many things to comment on…) With all this stuff about crushes, I think someone summed it up best in a different section: “I’m rubber, you’re glue.”

    When Jill can’t actually counter what you say, she just falls back on saying, “Well, if he’s putting effort into it like that, it must just prove he’s trying too hard! If he’s bothering to criticise me, it must just prove he’s really secretly totally in love with me! Or just has no life and shouldn’t be listened to anyway!”

    Simple schoolyard-level ad hominem. The actual argument is meaningless. Only looking like you won it has meaning. So much for the tolerant open mind.

    By the way, note how I am posting several comments lately in support of RA. This is what a crush really looks like, Jill. ; )

  18. PanAtheist
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 3:38 pm

    How could anyone attack someone just substituted “insanity” for faith for either faith or lack of faith?

    Faith (or not) springs directly from one’s experience and knowledge of the object in question. It’s kinda automatic!

    “Theists” tend to splash a “lack of faith” label around a lot and use it, (!!)euphemistically(!!), to indicate “atheists” and “agnostics”.

    They forget that we *see* that their whole activity of their lives is, itself, a euphemism: an avoidance of acknowledging and reacting to their (inevitable) realisations of the blatant facts that “miracles” and “GOD” are insane absurdities which, very obviously, can never be real.

    And everything that they do, or say, that relates to “miracles” or “God” is an avoidance of reality.

    We see right through them!

  19. PanAtheist
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

    Oops! Mistake!
    My previous comment should have read as follows >>

    How could anyone attack someone for either faith or lack of faith?

    Faith (or not) springs directly from one’s experience and knowledge of the object in question. It’s automatic!

    “Theists” tend to splash a “lack of faith” label around a lot and use it, (!!)euphemistically(!!), to indicate “atheists” and “agnostics”.

    They forget that we *see* that a great deal of activity in their lives is, itself, a euphemism: an avoidance of acknowledging and reacting to their (inevitable) realisations of the blatant facts that “miracles” and “GOD” are insane absurdities which, very obviously, can never be real.

    And everything that they do, or say, that relates to “miracles” or “God” is an avoidance of reality.

    We see right through them!

  20. godzilla
    October 2nd, 2005 @ 11:13 pm

    How is criticizing and attacking religion any better than being attacked for a lack of faith?
    Attacks of any sort are the weapon of the aggressor. Having said that, criticizing religion is an act of self defence and cannot be seen as reverse discrimination since the dominant group (religion) rules the world. It is like blaming the terrorists for attacking the US when in fact anything a minority group does to gain equality is an act of self defence even as it is villinized by the dominant group.

  21. Mort Coyle
    October 4th, 2005 @ 1:28 am

    Hi Reluctant Atheist,

    I’m fascinated by this statement:

    “…but if we cut to the book itself, that is so rife w/contradictions, historical mistakes, detached anectdotes, supernatural nonsense and far too many failed ‘prophecies’, well, then, the source is corrupt. Not to mention said book has such a propensity for abuse, that it’s very message is rendered invalid. Ultimately, if we cut to the core, and the core is corrupt, we toss it. Simple as that.”

    You’ve brought up six factors which, in your view, render “the book” invalid and corrupt. I’d love to dialog further about these six points, though I don’t know if this is the appropriate place to do so. Specifically, I’m interested in getting your response to three types of questions, applied to each of these six points. To wit:

    1. Contradictions
    A. What is your expection regarding whether or not a purported
    “holy book” should or should not contain contradictions?
    B. How would you define an “invalidating” contradiction?
    C. Could you provide what you consider the 3 best examples of
    such contradictions in the Bible?

    2. Historical Mistakes
    A. What is your expection regarding whether or not a purported
    “holy book” should/should not contain historical inaccuracies?
    B. How would you define an “invalidating” historical mistakes?
    C. Could you provide what you consider the 3 best examples of
    such historical mistakes in the Bible?

    3. Detached Anecdotes
    A. What is your expection regarding whether or not a purported
    “holy book” should/should not contain detached anecdotes?
    B. How would you define an “invalidating” detached anecdote?
    C. Could you provide what you consider the 3 best examples of
    such detached anecdotes in the Bible?

    4. Supernatural Nonsense
    A. What is your expection regarding whether or not a purported
    “holy book” should/should not contain “supernatural
    nonsense”?
    B. How would you define “supernatural nonsense”?
    C. Could you provide what you consider the 3 best examples of
    such “supernatural nonsense” in the Bible? (That should be
    an easy one!!!)

    5. Failed “Prophecies”
    A. What is your expection regarding prophecies (and how do you
    define, classify, test for failure, etc.)?
    B. How would you define a failed prophecy?
    C. Could you provide what you consider the 3 best examples of
    failed prophecies in the Bible?

    6. Propensity for Abuse
    A. Could you describe in more detail what you mean by this and,
    again, what your expectations are?
    B. Could you provide what you consider the 3 best examples of
    such abuse? (I assume that your referring here to something
    inherent in the book itself and not to abuse imposed upon it by
    those who misuse it, since the latter could be applied to almost
    any object.)

    I would enjoy the opportunity to dialog with you about these six issues that you raised.

    Thanks!

  22. Percy
    October 4th, 2005 @ 2:46 pm

    Mijae,

  23. Joe Bigliogo
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

    In general it is not wise not to venture unsolicited opinions especially where faith is concerned. This is simply to avoid needless conflict and hurt feelings.

    But if theists start by being critical of atheism they have just opened pandoras box. You have been tasked. You have now been solicited and your beliefs challenged. You have every right to answer back and present your case for atheism and why you disagree with religion and deity worship.

    But remain civilized and mind your manners otherwise you ruin credibilty for your position. It does confound me why so many theists operate with a double standard… it’s okay to target atheism for criticism but they react rather nastily when their own religious views are challenged.

    I think this is because (as Richard Dawkins pointed out), theists have been “use to getting their own way” for too long.

    Bottom line is it’s okay to declare your atheistic position but do so with tact and diplomacy. The same standard also applies to faith believers and they sometimes need reminding.

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