Thursday 9 May 2013

Ask and ye shall receive

Yesterday I left a comment on a blog post about swearing and in my comment I stated I find religious rhetoric offensive. The blog author asked me to explain why people are offended by religious content and instead of clogging up his comment section with a long and wordy comment, I thought I'd write a post instead.

Let me be clear: I have absolutely nothing against faith, spirituality or personal belief systems. What pisses me off is religious dogma, hypocrisy and the self-righteous, closed-minded attitude that seems to go hand in hand with organized religion. Have your faith in whatever gives you strength and peace...but the minute you start preaching at me and trying to jam your own morals and belief down my throat? Hell, yes, I find that offensive.

Dogma is defined as an official system of tenets and principles concerning faith, morals, behaviour, etc. This doctrine is proclaimed to be unquestionably true...and the unquestionable truth is the part I have an issue with. Faith is defined as belief in something that is not based on proof, which is fine for the individual who has faith, be it faith in God, Allah, The Flying Spaghetti Monster or the deity of your choice. The thing is, not everyone believes in the same thing...and there is absolutely no proof or empirical evidence that any one belief system is right. The only way to find out if your unquestionable truth is actual fact is when you die...and since there is thus far no scientific method of communicated with the dead, the question of God and the afterlife will remain a mystery. So yes, I find it offensive when someone suggests to me I repent, ask forgiveness from a deity that is based on myth, not fact, and if I don't I'm going to end up in some horrible place that no one can prove exists, while the self-proclaimed righteous go on to flit amongst the clouds and play harps all day. Again, believe what you want...but until you can prove that your belief system is based on fact, you have no right to foist your morals on anyone else.

Let's discuss religious hypocrisy. I'm not even going to get into all the heinously fucked-up things that have happened throughout history in the name of religion, because they are legion and we'd be here for the next 10 years slogging through them. But the thing I find most hypocritical about religion is how things like the bible get all twisted around and cherry-picked to suit a particular argument. I'm sorry, but NO ONE in this day and age takes the bible absolutely literally. If they did, then you'd be walking around asking random people if they were adulterers and hucking rocks at them if they answered in the affirmative. Quote all the bible verses you want, but just remember your own glass house is going to get shattered, because if we were to take the bible literally then every single person on the planet is guilty of something, including the most pious of people. Hypocrisy of any kind is offensive. But hypocrisy that hides behind a book and twists words for the sole purpose of pointing fingers and acting as judge, jury and executioner, while sweeping it's own shitty behaviour under the religious rug? Is the worst kind of hypocrisy there is.

I love this, I really do. Judge and condemn by using scripture as your weapon and then have a most un-Christian-like comeback when your bible-quoting gets thrown in your face

This leads me to the self-righteous/close-mindedness part of the story. Having faith is one thing. Declarations like "God kills fags" isn't about being faithful to anything. It's hatred in the name of religious dogma that has been so twisted that it cannot even be recognized as anything remotely biblical. The Westboro Baptist Church may be an extreme example, but it's an interesting one. These asshole picket funerals and claim that soldiers killed in Afghanistan died because God is punishing America for what they claim is the abomination of homosexuality. The part I find morbidly fascinating is these people have convinced themselves they are doing God's work and will be rewarded for it in heaven. So the question is this: if they believe the bullshit they spew is all said and done in the name of God, how is that different than sitting in judgement of how anyone else lives? Sure, it's way more extreme and disgusting, but it all boils down to that pesky unquestioning truth thing. Therefore, if you're a Christian and you find the WBC and their dogma repellant, do you not think that maybe someone else might find your own dogma repellant as well? If you're convinced that the WBC is wrong, how can you be so convinced that your own personal beliefs are right for anyone else but you? That's a hugely egotistical assumption to make...and closing yourself off to any other possibilities except for the one's that are your personal unquestionable truth is your choice. But it's not mine. And I find it offensive that anyone else would want to chose my own unquestionable truth for me.

Ok, religious rant over...back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans


  1. That motherfucker is so dumb. I want to slap him so hard, his grandkids feel it.

  2. Thank you for this explanation. You and I are very much in agreement over what you say in your post. I won't even attempt a thorough analysis of all the points you make. Many books have already been written in relation to all of your points and I do not intend to write a book in your comment section. So I'll just comment on a few of your points.

    Westboro--Totally bizarre and disgusting. I have heard a representative from their church on a radio talk show and I was surprised about how intelligent and rational the person sounded, but that still doesn't excuse their idiotic and disrespectful behavior. I doubt whether many of those who profess to be followers of Christ would behind that group.

    Dogma -- So much is taken out of context and spun with agendas when it comes to the Bible. Sure it's mostly a matter of faith, but so is much of what we deal with on a daily basis. We in the U.S. probably have a certain amount of faith that the government will tend to us as a nation, but we never know what will happen until it happens. Then we have the parties and special interest groups. So many different beliefs religious and secular that confront us daily. I feel like it's up to us to study carefully and try to make wise decisions about what we are going to believe. I still believe in free will and outcomes are based on our own decisions. And I do believe that the teachings of Jesus are directed with love in mind. That's what I've read at least.

    Religious hypocrisy -- One of the most common complaints against church and Christianity. My mother uses this one all the time. Hypocrisy is not the exclusion domain of those who live by faith, but the word seems to always become associated with Christians. There is plenty of hypocrisy in the political, business, and environmental arenas. We are all (everybody, not just Christians) essentially hypocrites to a degree. Nearly all of us are intolerant of something that we don't agree with. It would be nice if people could just calmly and pleasantly discuss differences to come to understandings at least even if agreement is not part of the outcome.

    Final thought-- If more people would carefully read through what Jesus said, there would be greater clarity of thought on all these issues. Historically speaking much evil in the world has been done in the name of Jesus. From my understanding of His teachings He would highly disapprove and be quite grieved by much that has happened. But Jesus also recognized this and warned us about these things. He also knew that He and His teachings would be highly offensive to many people. He was one perceptive dude and far beyond His time.

    I hope this is accepted in the spirit in which I intended. I am not one who likes to engage in rancor, but I do enjoy a spirited debate if it is done with respectfulness that seeks the most positive outcome for everyone.

    Thank you for your space and time. Sorry if this was overly long.

    Tossing It Out

    1. I 100% agree with you that we have free will...we are free to choose our own unquestionable truth...ALL of us.

      I agree hypocrisy knows no bounds and is practiced by every single social and cultural group there is, in some way shape or form. But personally, I find the twisting of any supposedly holy scripture, be it the bible or the Quoran or whatever, to be especially hypocritical. As you pointed out, Jesus himself would likely not be happy about how his words have been twisted to suit someone's personal agenda, especially an agenda that promotes hatred. And for the record, I do believe there was a man name Jesus, who was obviously charismatic and a gifted public speaker. But I consider him a philosopher, like Socrates and don't believe the son of god part.

      Thank you for your comment...I like a good debate and am all good with agreeing to disagree

  3. Awesome post! I just kind of wrote about this today for Theme Thursday. That example (above Bible and gay marriage) you gave is awesome, I'm gonna use next time..

    1. I'm gonna check your post out :)

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Ummm...WTF? I always miss out on all of the fun.

    The FB comment picture is so awesome I can't even stand it.

    1. You really haven't missed the continuation of SwearingGate lol

      I know!!! You should have heard me squeal in delight when I found that pic!

  5. BTW Stacey, if you would pay attention to His word, you would see why swearing is an abomination. Just saying. I'm only trying to save you from eternal hellfire.

    1. I think I'm far beyond saving at this point lolol

      The bible say don't take the lord's name in vain, but I don't recall seeing "don't drop the f-bomb or refer to people as douchecanoes" anywhere...maybe we're safe after all!

  6. As a Christian, I completely agree with you. It makes me so mad when other Christians act like their way is the only way. The truth is, I am Christian because that is how I was raised, and that is the view of God that I know. But I would never suggest that anyone else agree with me. My view of Christianity is very liberal, so a lot of my family believe that I am not really Christian, but I don't care. To me, if you are Christian, the only thing that should matter is modeling yourself after Christ, who was loving and kind and accepting of everyone. How many Christians do you know that act that way? Not many, sadly.

    I completely love that Facebook post you included! That was awesome :)

    1. I do feel bad when all Christians get painted with the same brush, because most Christians I know are wonderful people who don't go around calling the rest of us godless heathens who are going straight to hell unless we repent. It's the same old societal get a few self-righteous dicks who make everyone in their group look bad.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

  7. I fucking heart you so hard right now. So. Fucking. Hard.

    -The Witchy Insomniacs Dream

    (See what I did there? Now I'm going to get burnt at the goddamn stake)

  8. I live in a very religious area, and it is rough not being Christian. Colorado Springs is known as very Christian and right-wing political. I love it other than that. But I have to be on my toes every single time I meet another child's parents, and every social gathering has the possibility of my being the only non-Christian in the room.

    I've been frustrated lately with a lot of over-the-top religious spouting. I'm fine if people talk about religion, as long as it isn't in such a way as to judge me or other non-Christians. I've seen every bad thing that's happened lately being attributed to "all those atheists and their lack of morals." Frankly, I think a person who sticks to morals because they're important to them, and not because a book or a minister tells them to do so, is the more moral person. JMO, though.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse