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insulting religions

(990 Posts)
IneedAgoldenNickname Mon 07-Jan-13 00:39:04

Hi, I've never posted on this topic before, I tend to hang out in aibu, but don't want to start a bun fight!

So, I am a liberal Christian. I firmly believe that everyone had to right to believe (or not) whatever they want, provided that belief doesn't hurt anyone else.

Earlier today I posted a lighthearted status on Facebook, which had led to me being called mindless, stupid, stuck up, thinking I'm better than everyone else. I've been told God is a c**t (sorry I hate that word so much I won't type it) and that the Bible is only God for loo roll!

I'm just really angry that people think its ok to insult me/my religion like that, when I haven't once preached or insulted others.

Obviously the easy solution would be to delete them off of Facebook, but they are people I get on with other wise.

Don't really know the point of my post, just hoping id feel better writing it down. grin

EllieArroway Wed 09-Jan-13 08:31:47

weren't not aren't.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 09-Jan-13 08:36:19

>The bible mentions Behemoth and Leviathan, sea monster

>What's that got to do with anything?

I assume it related to claims of 'dinosaurs in the bible'. Er, no, made-up or misattributed creatures in the same way that there are 'giants' (whether 8'6" or 50") for which there is not a shred of evidence.

EllieArroway Wed 09-Jan-13 08:41:27

But if you really don't mind your beliefs being attacked you'll go and do it anyway Seriously? That old chestnut? "Read this book I've recommended. If you don't, it must mean you are too scared to have your beliefs attacked".

Actually, I have better things to do with my time. I have plodded my way through an awful lot of pro-religion, anti-science books and been bored out of my brain. I don't much care whether you think Dennett's ideas have been picked apart....I am not Dennett. I have my own ideas and my own opinions.

And, FWIW, my atheism is not a "belief". It's the absence of one. There's nothing to defend or get "evangelical" about. I have no emotional tie to being an atheist. Show me some evidence and I'll become a theist in a heartbeat. I'm interested in knowing the truth, whatever it happens to be.

EllieArroway Wed 09-Jan-13 08:44:36

Grimma Yes, I do know that.

But since it actually doesn't mean "dinosaur" then that poster was wrong to bring it up.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 09-Jan-13 08:46:25

>a lot of it is priviledged white men looking for something to complain about and cry victim over. Why?

Perhaps because if you're not in a privileged modern western culture it would be dangerous or very disadvantageous to even hint at being an atheist? And whereas the same applies to being the wrong religion in some areas, unlike that it doesn't come with any hope of protection or salvation, and no requirement to witness to ones belief.

(I don't think the 'white men' I can think of particularly 'cry victim' anyway)

CoteDAzur Wed 09-Jan-13 08:51:41

The problem with "insulting religions" is that almost any criticism sounds like an insult to the faithful.

EllieArroway Wed 09-Jan-13 09:00:04

If you want to say that, JotheHot, then you won't mind being associated with secularist atrocities in the Soviet Union and China, will you? Millions of people dead - it's all your fault; torture, starvation and systematic psychological degradation in the name of secularism and science - it's in your name

Er, no. Nice try, but

Stalin & Mao may have been atheists in that they did not believe in a supernatural deity, but they merely exchanged that sort of religion for another - the enforced worship of the state and themselves. This is a million miles away from the kind of free thinking secularism that exists in this country today.

No one takes action based on things they don't believe in. Neither believed in fairies either - might that have been the reason they committed their atrocities? What they DID believe in was a particular ideology and used murder & torture to achieve their aims.

Well done for not trotting out Hitler, though wink.

Himalaya Wed 09-Jan-13 09:14:42

It sounds like you have not very nice FB friends.

I am an atheist and I don't think religion should get a free pass from robust discussion on the basis that people's feelings might get hurt. But there is a time and a place - I.e. not at weddings and funerals and not on someone's we'll meaning FB post.

I have religious friends who post "thought for the day" type messages and requests for prayers, and spiritual friends who post all kinds of woo, which I just ignore. On the other hand I have religious friends who post more jokey banter with a religious theme, and sometimes I respond in kind.

I guess the point is people should be sensitive *to other people^, not to religions in particular.

HolofernesesHead Wed 09-Jan-13 09:15:48

That's not really my experience, Cote. I'm a Church of England Christian, so I'm used to hearing my church criticised! smile I'm also at the more liberal end of the C of E, so I'm pretty good at criticising it myself. Insult is a different thing to criticism, and whereas I can see that some (less educated so haven't been trained to think critically?) people might confuse the two, most Christians I know manage to be both faithful and critical. Which, IMO, is a very good thing.

ethelb Wed 09-Jan-13 09:17:55

And, FWIW, my atheism is not a "belief". It's the absence of one. There's nothing to defend or get "evangelical" about.

No, but you can be evangelistic about it.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 09:21:55

I agree. I have a few fb friends that are religious, and sometimes they post some awfy tripe pertaining to that, but they are my friends so I ignore it.
It's hard sometimes...especially when it's stuff like 'God makes no mistakes' and that sort of nonsense....because it makes me think of all the dreadful suffering there is, and I can't help but wonder how they square that circle. I suppose they just gloss over it with a bit of 'lalalalalala I can't hear yooouuu'.

It IS irritating, but I am respectful of my friends, if not their silly ideas.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 09-Jan-13 09:24:59

Depends what you mean by 'evangelistic' I guess. I've never found an atheist on my doorstep or a group of them holding a 'mission' to convert people, or running the equivalent of an Alpha course. grin

niminypiminy Wed 09-Jan-13 09:40:23

So let me get this right. It's ok to say that people with religious beliefs should take responsibility for all the awful things that religions are said to have done, but atheists are in no way bound to associate themselves with atrocities committed in the name of atheism. That smacks of 'you can dish it out but you can't take it.'

It's fine if you don't want to read something that might challenge your views. But given that it is a book review, and you could read it in half an hour, not having the time is simply an excuse.

EllieArroway Wed 09-Jan-13 09:40:45

Depends what you mean by 'evangelistic' I guess. I've never found an atheist on my doorstep or a group of them holding a 'mission' to convert people, or running the equivalent of an Alpha course


"Evangelism" means to actively spread information about a particular set of beliefs (specifically Christian ones, actually) with the aim of bringing about conversion.

Atheism is not a belief in it's own right. As I've already said it's a word used to describe the lack of a particular one, and that's all it means.

I suppose you could be militant/evangelical (kind of) about secularism, which IS a belief but I've never seen it happening in practice. Secularism is about equality and the support of all beliefs and none - attempts at conversion would be rather contradictory to the stated aims.

ethelb Wed 09-Jan-13 09:44:11

don't confuse being evangelical and being evangelistic. It's bad greek.

CoteDAzur Wed 09-Jan-13 09:44:40

"atrocities committed in the name of atheism"

What atrocities committed in the name of atheism?

Atheism isn't a political movement so what makes you think that Soviet & Chinese atrocities were committed in the name of atheism and not communism?

EllieArroway Wed 09-Jan-13 09:45:06

but atheists are in no way bound to associate themselves with atrocities committed in the name of atheism

As I thought I'd made clear, none of those things were done in the name of atheism. They were done in the name of communism & other ideologies.

It is illogical to do anything because of something you don't believe in.

Mao & Stalin did not believe in leprechauns either. How do you know that these atrocities were not committed, therefore, in the name of aleprechaunism?

EllieArroway Wed 09-Jan-13 09:46:22

Oh, ethelb, don't be disingenous. They have the same root meaning and amount to the same thing.

niminypiminy Wed 09-Jan-13 09:46:38

I don't know how many times I have heard the canard that atheism is not a belief but the absence of one.

The problem with that is that people who are atheists do have plenty of beliefs. They believe that science is the sole arbiter of truth. They believe that morality can be determined by reference to non-transcendental principles. They believe in the sufficiency of human reason to solve the problems of human life. All those things are beliefs, and it is disingenuous to claim that they are not, and that atheism has no beliefs associated with it.

In fact, the statement that 'I believe there is no god' is of course a statement of belief in itself, and all sorts of other beliefs flow from that.

JakeBullet Wed 09-Jan-13 09:47:12

I am Catholic but not evangelical, I think the Catholic Church could do with a great deal of updating in many areas. I go to church but have never believed in "a man in the sky". For me God (or whatever you want to say) is the all encompassing spiritual power which surrounds us all. I like the Catholic way largely due to the smells and bells....I find I can really make a connection. Most of my friends are either non believers or atheists; they refer to my church going as "Jake and her religious bollocks"grin but I don't mind this...each to their own and all that. I don't share religious statuses on Facebook either.

niminypiminy Wed 09-Jan-13 09:48:26

Communism was a political system one of whose central aims was the achievement of a completely secular society, the eradication of the Church and of religious belief, no?

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 09:49:30

I have never said 'I believe there is no God' - who does?
'I don't believe in God' is what is commonly said isn't it?

niminypiminy Wed 09-Jan-13 09:51:34

I do not believe in God = I believe God does not exist.

pictish Wed 09-Jan-13 09:52:58

Saying you don't believe in God is not subscribing to any belief. Don't be silly.

niminypiminy Wed 09-Jan-13 09:59:03

Of course it is. If I were to say 'I don't believe in cars' I would be making a strong statement of belief either about the world (that cars do not actually exist) or about my values (I do not like cars). It's a grammatical negative, not an ontological one.

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