You know, I hear guys like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye advocate that they “couldn’t care” about the beliefs of others “as long as” those beliefs are not forced on others. Lately I’m less and less of that view. My perspective is taking on a more Hitchens-esque flavour: Religion poisons everything and must be eradicated at all cost.
It’s articles like the above that re-enforce in me the opinion that the all-powerful, ever accommodationalist capital-T Tolerance is vastly over-rated. Someone on these forums once said as I get older these things would bother me less. They were wrong, the more I see of it the more it bothers me.
Should we really kow-tow to religionists and for the sake of keeping the “peace” (BIG AIR QUOTES), being nice, and so on… claim that we tolerate this utterly insane bullshit? Deny that we don’t think all of this has it’s roots firmly in the “moderate” persuations of the world?
That’s another word I’m growing weary of. “The moderates”. Really? Have you seen what happens when I give some facts to “moderates”?!
I apologise if I’m unusually grumpy this week, logic has cost me another friend or two. Maybe I should’ve practised more “tolerance” for insane bullshit. But then, what would be left of my principles? I can’t just stand to one side and watch the world burn!
I have this theory that I have to be a bit confrontational every now and then, otherwise the point will never hit home. How do you feel? Can we really afford to be “tolerant” of all this utter madness being strewn around us every hour of every day?
Isn’t it time that, instead of waging an imaginary “war on xmas”, we wage an actual intellectual “war on religions”?
Well, good luck with that.
The trick, as that cliché goes, is to choose your battles — to which I’d add choosing your weapons and your strategies. Experience has taught us that it’s wiser to tell friends and family what you think of religion, and decline getting drawn into a pointless debate. Occasionally when the woo-woo starts flowing copiously, a brief and strategic reminder of the “Well, you know our views on that.” sort is also needed just to keep things on the straight and narrow.
On the other hand, the Internet is near enough the last holdout of unrestrained free speech (with a few exceptions), and your opponents typically are faceless and anonymous. There, debates on religion are rarely fruitful since they almost invariably degenerate into slanging matches when earnest questions fail to prompt any cogent answers, which is exactly what usually happens. At this point, silence or ridicule become the only sane response choices.
We’ve seen that routine time and again on this very forum, and it strongly suggests that the majority of people simply must have their assorted irrationalities to cling to because these largely define them as the people they are. They expect to feel diminished somehow if they challenged or even abandoned them. On the upside, over the past decade or two, atheists and sceptics worldwide have become considerably less timid about denouncing (religious) inanities and atrocities.
I think for now and the foreseeable future, the best that we can hope for is to drive a wedge between those largely silent “moderates” and the raving fundamentalist loons by making it common practice to lampoon and scoff at the loons whenever they say or do something crazy, or dish out appropriate punishment when they overstep too far. They want to be taken seriously but if you rob them of any chance of that by treating them like petulant children, they’ll distance themselves progressively further from the rest of humanity. That way, hopefully, the insanity of the loony fringe will be robbed of momentum and gradually marginalise them to the point of near irrelevance because I doubt we’ll ever get rid of them entirely.
Ja I think it fine to ridicule the bad ideas of the fanatics. But once you start attacking moderates you
risk pushing them to become fanatics them selves.
In any case we are a small group in the world and if we hope to change it by any chance we need the moderates on our side.
Haha ja, I’ll let you know when that happens.