The right not to be ridiculed?

The problem with many religious people is that they see any criticism of their beliefs as an attack — the so-called “War on Christmas” for instance. If you question their beliefs, they think you’re trying to take away their rights. This is ridiculous.

No one is beyond having their beliefs criticized in America. That’s one of the great things about our country and our 1st Amendment (which covers both freedom of religion and freedom of speech). You can believe whatever you want. It doesn’t mean you are beyond question or that people have to agree with you, or even put up with you.

Not surprisingly, many of those sensitive believers who cry about being discriminated against when criticized are the first to speak poorly about Muslims or Scientologists or Wiccans or Atheists. I’ve often found it hilarious how some Christians scream that Muslims are trying to instill “Sharia Law” in America (they’re not) while at the same time they’re trying to make abortion and gay marriage illegal because that’s what their religious law tells them.

Anyway, here’s a clip of my friend David Silverman on Fox today talking about this issue. (Just yesterday, we were having breakfast together discussing it…)

(As an aside, in case you’re unaware, David was the inspiration of the WTF face meme, which was the face he gave Bill O’Reilly when O’Reilly claimed God must exist because otherwise you can’t explain how waves in the ocean work. So far, David is my only friend who has become a meme.)


6 thoughts on “The right not to be ridiculed?

  1. “Because otherwise you can’t explain how waves in the ocean work.” OMG–I am laughing so hard! Yeah, I would have given him the same look as your friend.

    The real reason people find any criticism or even question of their religion a threat is because they are insecure in their faith. They are afraid to question it or look at it closely because they might find they don’t really believe what they think they believe, and that would leave a huge gaping whole in their identity. That’s a scary prospect, and I sympathize. But can you really call it faith if it’s never tested? Even Jesus’ faith was tested.

    If you’re going to believe in something (and I am happy for those who do), have a better reason for believing than, “My pastor told me so.”


  2. Offended by the play? Don’t see it. Simple.

    I think there is a fine line between criticizing a religion and telling people that they are wrong for believing. If people want to criticize Christianity, they may…it’s not perfect. However, telling me that I am “ignorant” or “stupid” because I believe in something they consider fiction is just as bad as me saying someone is “wrong” for being an atheist, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Pagan. People want to talk about religion, fine. I enjoy that…it’s when the personal attacks begin that I get upset.


  3. Well, being impolite and nasty is never nice, no matter what you are criticizing. This is mostly about people who wrongly think that criticism equals censorship, or that by saying anything to challenge them is a violation of their rights or something.


    • It could be argued, though, that “ignorant” is not an insult but a description. For example, if you claim the universe is 6,000 old, you are clearly ignorant of basic cosmology. If you claim God created the animals, you are ignorant of the theory of evolution. That is not an insult but a fact. I am ignorant of the Qur’an, for example, having never read it.


  4. There is a big difference between criticism and infringing on someone’s right to worship as they see fit. The leadership of the Catholic Church (and many other religious groups) is that homosexuality is inherently wrong. The play in question re-imagines Biblical stories with gay characters. It is about acceptance.

    So, it seems that the right to protect an individual’s grounds for bigotry is at stake, not religious freedom. No one is being told that they can’t be Christian, can’t be Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Hindu, atheist….but the play is saying, hey, maybe hating someone for their sexual orientation in a pretty shitty thing to do.

    As a side note, Martin has said that the play was one of the biggest money makers the school has ever had, so no one needs to fret about their tax dollars going to a religion bashing play. It brought in more than it used.


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