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”

  1. Tori says:

    Our teacher brought in a newspaper article about FSM today. When he started reading it I laughed because I had known about FSM for over a year now. There were many kids in our class who said it was a stupid idea, that he was making fun of some people’s actual beliefs, and other expected responses. I tried to explain the situation to them, because they obviously did not listen to the article our teacher was reading, they would not listen. Religion is not for the science classroom! My school has a World Religion class every other year for students who are interested in learning about religion. I plan on taking it next year.

  2. neal says:

    Imagine the furor it will cause when someone gets elected and decides to take the oath of office on the Book of FSM!

  3. blumentopferde says:

    that’s the typical (especially american) sledge hammer in religious discussion: don’t critisize anything because you might hurt somebody’s feelings (any might get sued for that). don’t critisize nazis because if they find out that the aryan race neither exists nor is superiour to other human beings it might destroy their whole concept of life. don’t critisize scientologists because it might hit their bank accounts (and of course their religious feelings) if people find out that they’re just exloiting people with the single aim to gain money and power, don’t make fun of creationism because some people obvioulsy like to believe that bullshit, and most of all: don’t ever have an opinion and don’t make fun of anything, no matter how absurd it seems to you! somebody might worship the absurd and be critically traumatized by what you’re saying thinking or suspecting!
    cheers, blumentopferde

  4. JS says:

    @Yellow Beard- That’s exactly what I was thinking. Good point.

  5. DelvenMelven says:

    HA, but you attack the creator and subsequently the followers of this “religion” (its actually a protest)- so you infact are saying that you consider yourself an imbecile- Touche’
    Ps- go cry elsewhere

  6. Beau says:

    The only thing that gets me is that, you would like us to “be a little more humane” but their are christian churches that promote death to Iraq soldiers, gays, and victims of aids, and even September 11th. I think it is safe to say that FSM is more humane then godhatesfags.com which is a christian church. We’ve never wished death upon people, or have been happy of the death of anyone.

  7. Swedish Meatball says:

    I’ll say that the basic morality in the New Testament to some part is of use. But that’s about it as far as I’m concerned. And I’m not referring to the Ten Commandments here.

    I’m against killing people only because of once own fundamental beliefs, in fact I’m mostly against killing people in general… Depends a bit on which side of the bed I wake up though.

  8. PYRETTE says:


    If i define myself primarily as a small raspberry pudding i bet you would attack THAT belief system without any hint of respect or sensitivity.

    When criticising the core of a person’s sanity it’s important to be blunt.

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