My only objection to ANY religion is when its patrons
attempt to insert it into the balance of society which is not
a subscriber, and especially when ‘they’ try to insert ‘it’ into
science which considers the search for the unknowable to be
a waste of time.
Those were my words, written way back on November 23, 2002. I was, at the time, having an online (email) discussion with an evangelical Christian whose undercurrent philosophy was essentially theocratic in nature. The EC’s stated position was a common one back then, that Intelligent Design should be taught alongside Evolution in H.S. science classes because evolution pretty much ignored the Creator concept. As I put it at the time,
Science doesn’t ‘need’ (and certainly doesn’t employ) a “story” of creation, that option more the purview of those who prefer to employ the ‘magic’ of the supernatural. Science employs, on the other hand, “reason”, research, facts, etc. from which it attempts to derive a fair and — shall we say — ‘uncontrived’ explanation of reality and of origins.
And of course, I was labelled as “anti-Christian” and “intolerant” in result. Why? Because of my stated objection to the insertion of theological/dogmatic ‘Belief’ in the place of scientific ‘Fact’ — a position to which I still, this day, adhere, but one which most certainly should NOT be considered in any quarter as a sign of ‘intolerance.’ Non-Belief, yes, definitely. Intolerant? No.
As I’ve said many times before, I really and truly do not care what others believe, which church they attend (or don’t attend), or anything else that has anything to do with religion — it is, absolutely, a personal matter and should forever stay as such.
But I must confess that I become very troubled when what should be private religious matters are placed front and center upon the public stage, and when such matters are blatantly used to not only influence an election along dogmatic lines but also to shove a particular brand of said dogma down *everyone’s* throat via any legal means possible — ranging from local law to Constitutional amendment — my hackles quickly raise, as does my blood pressure.
Case in point: Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio recently said,
“We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech. Today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater.”
There is a very logical explanation as to why so many of those who “do not support same-sex marriage . . . are labeled . . .” ‘homophobes’ and ‘haters.’ It’s because they are. There’s also a very good reason why so many are so ready to willingly acknowledge that sometimes Christian teaching is hate speech. Because it either has that capacity, or because it IS hate speech. And while it’s true that such epithets can be accurately directed at the Christian religious foundationals, it’s no less accurate to direct them at any other god-based religion or belief system, a point made and exemplified in the following Salon.com post, written by Jeffrey Tayler — Religious delusions are destroying us . . .
The year just past was, for rationalists, an unremitting annus horribilis. It leaves us with little reason to think 2016 will be much better. . . .
Yet attempt to disabuse aficionados of the brain-warping faiths in the name of which so much blood has been and is being spilled, and so much unnecessary anguish forced on so many innocents, and they will quite likely shower you with abuse, calling you an agent of Satan, morally deficient, intolerant, or just plain disrespectful. Worse, If Islam is the faith in question, a contingent of witless liberals (themselves not believers) would join in, crowing about “Islamophobia” and racism, though Islam is not a race, but a hallowed ideology with universal pretensions and followers of every skin color. The result: Religion – which is to say, a construct of comprehensive, evidence-free propositions about our universe and mankind, entertained with often fanatical certitude – enjoys, even in 2016, undeserved respect, tax exemptions costing government coffers $71 billion annually, and even a place of honor on our currency. In the world’s first secular republic, this is an outrage.
All religions are nothing more than man-made contrivances of domination and submission, exploited by humans for mundane ends, and accoutered with sundry superstitious rituals meant to ensure tribal loyalty and generate animosity toward outsiders. Long before we in the West knew of faith-sanctioned female genital mutilation or the hurling of gays from rooftops, Shakespeare declared, “What damned error but some sober brow/will bless it and approve it with a text/hiding the grossness with fair ornament.” And remember: the “damned errors” and “grossness” are all for naught. Religion is a lie, and those who profess it, dupes of the lie.
Tayler continues toward his summation.
We need to stress the indignity of religion. Superstitions ordaining us to submit to God are the enemies of human dignity. That God is wholly imaginary only compounds this indignity. Coddling the religiously deluded by showing “respect” for the undignified shams to which they are attached (denouncers of “Islamophobia” take note!) drags out the misery they impose on themselves and on the rest of us. In contrast to religious folk, we nonbelievers know how to live free and should never hesitate to point this out. Religion and freedom are incompatible. In fact, religion and true adulthood can’t coexist. One who shies away from bleak facts surrounding our time on Earth is really a child, no matter his or her age.
“No gods, no masters,” declared early feminist Margaret Sanger. Such is the slogan for human dignity and reason, whether we are male or female.
Tayler definitely makes his point, although I must say he seems also to have employed a fair amount of ‘religious intolerance’ in the process, a practice with which I continue to disagree. Personally, I’ve known a great many people of solid religious belief — Christian, Jewish, Islamic, even Native American — who neither hold nor ever express any level of dogmatic ‘hatred’ concerning anyone of ANY belief (or non-belief). To people such as them, hate and intolerance are alien processes and can never glean even a shred of intellectual justification. Their credo: Tolerance. Always.
I freely admit that I see neither the Bible, the Quran, or any other ‘Holy Book’ as being an authority on anything at all, but once again it’s surely not my decision as to how someone else might feel about that same book. On the other hand, sometimes I do wonder how the ‘moralists’ among us might feel were the pendulum to swing to its opposite margin, and there soon appeared proposals afoot and legislation pending that would disallow any and all public displays and utterances of religious concepts, that churches would be taxed exactly the same as any other business or corporation, depending on size and income etc., that the only legal place to pray would be — staying with Biblical principle — in one’s own closet.
That’s not likely to ever occur, of course, but it is something to ponder in the sense that were any ‘assault’ on religion ever to be proposed, even indirect in the forms of public prohibitions or taxation, it would immediately bring forward cries of Constitutional violation, and more. Yet, here we are in a situation where religious leaders and their respective flocks not only demand the imposition of religion-based laws, but also press for so-called “faith-based initiatives” (the transfer of public funds to religious organizations, presumably for specified tasks) as well as the rewriting of public school science textbooks as a means to substitute Biblical creationism for legitimate and well-researched scientific theory.
And lest we forget, there has been, over the course of history, more hatred and intolerance between believers of various faiths than between the vast bulk of non-believers towards each other. Descriptive words such as ‘Crusades’ and ‘Inquisition’ come quickly to mind, as do images of today’s hatred and intolerance on the part of Christians (and many non-believers) toward Muslims — Islamists of any denomination anywhere on the globe. And v.v., of course.
And sadly, the more one might dare hope for reprieve from or outright rejection of Intolerance by ‘leaders’ everywhere, the less the chance seems to become. One might almost conclude that intolerance and hate are factors that greatly assist the definition of the entire of the human species.
But still, this is America after all, the country where “All men are created equal” and where “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . .” so it follows that Tolerance WILL prevail amongst all her people. Right?
“We have a federal government that is advancing a secular agenda
that puts the ability of Bible-believing Christians to live our faith
more and more in jeopardy . . . If we allow nonbelievers to elect our
leaders, we shouldn’t be surprised when our government
doesn’t reflect our values.”
“We need a Christian supremacist society or else these things are
going to continue to happen. God willing, if Donald Trump wins,
and I think he will win, he will put a cap on things like this.”
(Theodore Shoebat, Extremist Christian Activist)
Or maybe not?