A distinction

Published December 5th, 2007 by Bobby Henderson

A distinction:

I appreciate what you’re saying, and I think it’s important to hear. In writing with such wry and caustic humour, you’re able to really effectively reveal the absurdity of what’s happened. There is a difference, however, between parody and ridicule. At points your sarcasm (“one third time for logical conjecture,” etc.) becomes quite harsh and implies that the religious view denies logic and reasoning wholesale.

You’re dealing with something that, more than being a “precious belief” per se, is an important part of many people’s identity. Many define themselves, not just peripherally, but primarily as “Christians.” Attacking that belief system without at least giving it some hint of respect or sensitivity is akin to mocking a person’s chosen lifestyle, personality, or preferences as not just different but illogical and wrong. You can’t in one section write ironically about the deductive demerits of believing in written scripture as a priori truth and then claim to avoid attacking the very heart of a person’s belief system and philosophical identity. You have literally brought the very basis of not only Christian teaching but religious belief in general into question, and in a fairly patronising and uncompromising way.

I’m not asking you to “present both sides” or any equally bullshit measure. But I am asking you to be empathetic. When criticising the core of a person’s self-identity (what they believe in), it’s important to be a little more humane.


112 Responses to “A distinction”

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  1. lordpunkmonk says:

    How many times will we have to explain this to people WE ARE NOT AGAINST RELIGION

    we should have a public service announcment or something

  2. rmw says:

    @lordpunkmonk–unfortunately, many people miss that particular point. I’m not denying that everybody is always diplomatic in his/her response, but I kind of doubt that even if everyone did “play nice,” there would still be plenty of people who see this (or perhaps *want* to see this) as being anti-religion, instead of anti-ID in the classroom (and anti-stupidity).

  3. Iscariot says:

    @neal dec 8th, 2007 at 1:58 am-I completely agree neal, unfortunately in our country any politician thinks that it is total political suicide to say that they are anything but a believer in God. The sad truth is that they are right. (they wouldn’t get elected for squat, even if they said they were agnostic.) I guess we are more of a Demotheocracy eh? ;)

  4. CindyB says:

    Yes, neal, I am just waiting for one candidate to say “I believe in the complete and total separation of church and state, as our founding fathers intended.” Theocracies have turned other countries into quagmires of persecution of any who don’t follow the state religion, and I can’t bear to see my country exploited in that way. I don’t care what religion anyone is, if they just keep it out of my face and to themselves. Where did we get to the point where religion is public anyway? Shouldn’t it be private? Aside from posting here (and this is my first time) and wearing my FSM shirt, I don’t flaunt my beliefs. I don’t think anyone else should either. Like your underwear, it’s private.

  5. Drew says:

    I agree with the original post.

  6. rmw says:

    @CindyB–“Like your underwear, it’s private.” :-D But, more important was your quote about the separation of church and state. Why do our politicians take the oath of office on a bible? Look, state does not belong in church, and church does not belong in state. And yes, there are those who complain bitterly about that, stating the US was founded on Christian values, and that our forefathers were Christians. That may be true, but they also had the foresight to understand religion and politics should not mix. If you’re religious, fine. But kindly do not wear it on your sleeve and expect others to think exactly like you.
    @Iscariot–yes, there are definitely those who want a theocracy–a *Christian* theocracy. Does anybody remember the furor caused when a Muslim congressman from Minnesota wanted to take the oath of office on the Q’ran instead of the Bible? There were so many angry politicians, stating the US is a *Christian* nation and to do use the Q’ran was heretical. (Of course, that brings me to my previous point of church/state separation and using holy books to take the oath of office on.)

  7. pieces o'nine says:

    Regarding taking US oaths of office on Bibles:
    The US Constitution, Article VI, clause 3:
    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
    Adding “So help me God” or swearing upon the individual’s scripture is common, especially for Presidents, but it is *not* part of the official oath, and not all have done so. The following two attitudes should reflect the norm (IMO) but, sadly, they are not.
    Jamin Ruskin, Prof of Constitution Law: (2006)
    “People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don’t put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”
    Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr (D-IL): (1997)
    “When I came here, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. I didn’t put my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

  8. Stogoe says:

    Sorry, dude. Christianity is a ridiculous cesspool of hate, genocide, and intolerance. It’s also completely rubbish, and if you decide to define your being as a believer in that particular ridiculous garbage, you open yourself to mockery. There is no reason for me to be deferential to your preferred brand of crazy.

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