Horswood Beer-Master wrote:Let me condense your point down for you.
"I can't find a response to Horwood's points, so I'll just go and build one of these to attack instead,"
*image of a straw man*
What you've just posted above does not even vaguely represent the point I was trying to make. And as for your assertion of my 'arrogance' and 'stupidity', are you in the habit of making ad-homs without backing them up? Or is that, like your strawman, just another tactic to make it look like you've responded to my points without going to the effort of actually doing so?
For your information, none of what I said was about taking the piss out of believers, it's about my right to take the piss out of belief. Although I'd be happier if people saw through the lies of religion, I perfectly respect the right of people to believe whatever they like, and I perfectly respect the right of people to accept and abide by certain rules and boundaries placed on them by their religions on how or what they may discuss when it comes to religious matters if they freely choose to do so. What I do not respect is their perceived right to act as if those rules and boundaries apply to other people as well!
First off, "arrogant" and "stupid" were directed at the views, not the person, though I'm sorry if you took it personally. You know what, you're probably right; I generalized far too much and I may have parsed one of the sentences incorrectly. I'll admit fault there.
I still think that the phrase "...and I'm certainly not going to 'suspend my disbelief'! (It's not like the theist when listening to my views, is going to first 'suspend their belief'.)" borders on arrogance; it does seem as if you're not trusting a theist's mental capacities to be large enough to be able to put aside the emotional baggage when necessary and that is insulting to the people who can. I also don't want to ask you to unflinchingly accept my views; you can rip them apart all that you like. On second thought, asking for it to be done in a manner that's not rude does seem stupid, since someone somewhere will take offense to it no matter what. All I ask is that it's done to the standards of a civilized conversation. Both people get to express their views, both people get chances to fight back, hopefully with copious amounts of logic and good taste.
Your point that centuries ago it would have been suicide to blaspheme is valid. It's depressing but valid. It's not suicidal now and rational discourse is allowed and in many cases even encouraged. I don't think that it's an appropriate justification to say "because hundreds of years ago, I would have been killed for expressing these views, now that I can express them I should go and be as offensive as I can be torward this specific group in order to make it easier for myself to express these views. To me, it's similar to a black person telling a white person to stand off of a bus seat so they could have it because "a few decades ago, I would have had to have done the same for you." [ Yes, I realize it's not the best comparison, but it was the only one I could think of ] I don't think that going about this with a goal to antagonize will get you any further to your goal; no one responds well to being patronized, to being insulted, or anything of the sort.
To respond to your comment about 'pushing peoples' buttons' though. The problem as I see it, is that there are too many people who's 'buttons' are so easily 'pushed', that it's next-to-impossible (and sometimes totally impossible) to discuss their religion at all without pushing them. And when they are pushed, the backlash (witness the Danish cartoon furore) can potentially lead to unacceptable restrictions on free speech, and make it impossible to conduct any discussion on this topic, if we let it.
It's clear to me that the only solution is for people to develop thicker skins, and become less sensitive to having their buttons pressed. How to achieve this? Well as I see it, just as the only way to desensitise someone to the cold is to expose them to the cold, the only way to desensitise people to blasphemy against their religion is to commit blasphemy against their religion.
I can see your logic there, but I guess that I don't understand is why it's so important to talk to the people who have absorbed their faith in so much that they can't even take the time to be civil to a fellow person. These are the people who will lash out against those so violently that they'll either "win" their argument or kill themselves in the process. Why are they so important? If one wishes to have an interesting, enriching conversation, why not just ignore them and try to focus on the people that will show a worthwhile response?
[ Also, please don't think that I'm targeting you. You're just one of the people who has posted the most content lately ( that hasn't been about Moo's posts ) with whom I don't necessarily agree. ]
gmalivuk wrote:Rakysh wrote:blasphemy: good for changing taboos, not so good for changing minds.
But taboos have to change first, before the kind of open discussion capable of changing minds is even possible.
That makes sense, but I don't necessarily see blasphemy as necessary to change anything. Maybe I should define what blasphemy means to me, personally: it's purposely saying something that goes against someone else's religion in order to incite a negative reaction. I don't think of rational discourse and questioning as blasphemy, though maybe if I substituted that as one of the many possible definitions that one may have for blasphemy, a lot of the posts in this thread would make more sense. Or maybe I'm just too naive, hoping that everything can be solved with a nice, friendly chat over tea and crumpets...
Daojia wrote:Approaching someone and discussing faith/belief isn't a terribly offensive thing to do, nor should the questioning of any facet of religious belief be seen as blasphemous or sacrilegious. And that works both ways; any religious person should be able to have this sort of discussion with an atheist without either side feeling like they're trying to convert or one-up the other.
I guess that this is really what I've been trying to say throughout all of my awkward little posts. If people could just put aside the baggage and the anger, we could have some wonderful discussions and learn from all sides.
I hope that at least a tiny little piece of this makes sense or comes out as I intended it to. If it doesn't, I might just go and sit out of the conversation if I'm not going to be of use.