Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays on religion.
Hi Guy, i typed Gay into my search engine and found you amongst all the hate sites that came up. we have very similar views on a lot of subjects it seems like your stance on animal rights and the use of the only habitable planet in the universe that we know of. I understand where you are coming from about the Christian right (oxymoron) but as a gay christian I find much to commend a relationship with the spiritual. Please consider the idea that the enemy is not any particular religion but extremism of any kind. God has to be more sophisticated than the Old Testament caricature of him would suggest that is why he waited until after I started to come out to touch me in a very personal way and has blessed my gay life greatly. Christianity is my default setting if you will but I am also influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, Animism Humanism.… the list goes on. I’m not trying to convert you or fundamentally (ooh that word again) change you opinion but please don’t lump us all in the same basket as the savage bastards who are no more Christian than a mako shark is a goldfish and who are an embarrassment to real followers of Christ and his (as opposed to moronic evangelists) teachings.
Anyway gotta go but keep up the good work.
In theory, I would agree with you. So long as religious adherents don’t go killing people or interfering with others, they hurt only themselves with their nutty ideas. However, in practice, religions have been nothing but trouble for mankind. If we don’t tame them, they will lead to hostilities that will end with nuclear annihilation.
What is freedom of religion? Basically is the right to be delusional. When you espouse a religion, you believe something that is counter to common sense, counter to evidence, or for which there is no evidence. It is not just speculation. Believers profess absolute certainty. If it were not so common, we would consider religious belief a form of mental illness.
If people believe with utter certainty arrant nonsense, there is no common ground. The only thing everyone can agree on is truth. They will never see eye-to-eye on their fantasies.
Ah, you say. I can see how everyone else’s religion is based on hot air, but mine is based on divine juju. Mine is true, it is just that not everyone can appreciate its Truth, though granted there is no evidence for it. You must have Faith. The great co-incidence is the religion you chose usually happens to be the one your mother spoon-fed you before you could even speak. It might be true, but you must admit there is no evidence for your certainty. If there were, your belief would be called science, not religion.
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
~ Stephen F. Roberts (born:1967 age:48)
I have fought my entire life against the Kristians and their nutty ideas about wanting to kill all gay people just because it is part of their delusional religion. Kristians can never come up with a practical reason why they should exterminate homosexuals. People who believe they have a divine right to kill without a practical reason are dangerous and properly should be treated as criminally insane.
Our history of religious conflict had led us to be very cautious about criticizing the religious beliefs of others. We are right to be wary of religious intolerance, but it is time we recognized that our religious identities have themselves become an increasingly potent source of human conflict. The notion that God wrote one or another book has always been a source of dangerous and unnecessary divisions in our world. Given the spread of modern weapons and other disruptive technology, these divisions are fast becoming antithetical to civilization itself.
~ Sam Harris (born:1967-01-01 age:49)
I don’t include classic Buddhism as a religion. It is more of a philosophy or a self-help system. The Buddha himself counselled against dogmatism, or taking his words on faith. The Pure Land sect is pretty nutty though.
Er, um… did you actually read what i had to say?
your reply seemed to be to another message completely. It would seem that YOU are the one who is being dogmatic. I never said that what i believe is a proven truth, in fact i live by the mantra (amongst others) that faith is the belief in the unproven.
Your thesis was that most religious people are harmless. I argued why any delusion, if believed with fanaticism, is not a Good Thing™. I did not say you were a fanatic. By my definition, you are not even religious. You are more into religious speculation, rather than blind faith.
I don’t evangelise and in fact i frown on evangelism when i see the cultural damage that missionaries do (vis the conquistadores) my faith is in something that has been proven only to me (I mean it is personal not that I have any great revelation) by circumstantial evidence but which i would not presume nor could I prove to another. I believe in the scientific method and what i have is an unproven set of non repeatable data which is just enough to convince me.
This is what i’m trying to get at that your view of religion is as coloured and stereotypical as the redneck view of gays is. more to the point is that you are implying that i have no right to believe in anything which is not vetted by some atheistic (that’s a religion too) star chamber.
I don’t think anyone has a right to kill others or persecute them, or even meddle with their affairs, unless they have a non-religious reason for it. A delusion won’t do. I don’t think people should be encouraged to hold onto delusions, religious or otherwise. Society has a phony respect for religious delusion which I believe is counter productive. We should let each other know when we think they are spouting BS. Your reasons for meddling in other people’s lives must make sense in practical, common sense, consensus reality. Kristians meddle in matters of euthanasia that don’t concern them based purely on religious beliefs. Kristians torment and kill gays for purely religious reasons. Kristians beat up Muslims and Jews. Kristians interfere with other people’s use of birth control. Law must be based on values we hold in common. You can’t go imposing the delusions, even of the current religious majority. You know they are delusions if only one religion holds them.
As for delusions such as an angel appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him some gold plates which he lost, or whether Mary, mother of Jesus, had an intact hymen, it really does not matter. The delusions that matter are the ones that convince fanatics they know better than others how to run their lives for them.
Hmm, shades of Stalin (fundamentalist atheist) there i think. I saw a fridge magnet once which said I have nothing but respect for someone who says they search for the truth and nothing but fear for someone who says they have found it. I have no intention of baiting you and on other subjects as i say i am behind you one hundred percent but please reread my first message with a more open mind and think about how your words disenfranchise me and other gay people of faith. It’s bad enough when the rednecks are out to get you without being stabbed in the back by your own.
I not calling for gulags for Kristians, merely not feigning respect for their nutty beliefs. Stop respecting their delusions. It just encourages them.
Although i was disappointed by the lack of depth to your response i still have respect for what you are trying to do.
once again you have maliciously read into my coments things that i have not said and turned your response into a chance to rant about your kristians (surely a pejorative epithet based on the sort of closed mindedness that you pretend to decry).
I thought fanatics were the subject. You keep trying to make it about you and me, personally.
It reminds me of a Monty Python sketch where the man goes into the wrong room after paying for an arguement and gets abuse instead. When he gets his arguement he is disappointed because it simply devloves into a session of contradiction. I thought that you were interested in a socratic discussion but obviously not.
We often hate most in others the failings we are secretly ashamed of in ourselves and this is a classic example. Respond to this publicly if you must but i shall not be visiting your site again. It is a shame too because i have some pertinent things to say about the treatment of beasts of burden but i find that your mind is too closed and set possibly to the point of atrophy.
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