I'm not going to name the source or the location in order to protect the stupid, but on a certain site I frequent there is a thread (Title: "Islam sucks") about the atrocities being committed, on a daily basis, in the name of Islam. The second post in that thread says:
"I believe all religion should be abolished for good and start teaching evolution and thinking rationally and logically."
My reply was rather acrid:
While you're deciding what people should believe and think, are you also thinking of controlling what they eat, watch, read, and wear? Because obviously you think none of us is smart enough to make up our own minds, pray tell us what we should do?
The issue here is not that "Islam" sucks, not exactly.
Over the past fifty years, "Islam" has ended up being turned into a haven for extremists who would like nothing better than to have total control over what people think and believe. Sha'ria--the fundamentalist Islamic law--is nothing but a totalitarianist government hiding behind a facade of relgion.[sic*]
The fact is that millions of uneducated people have fallen under the sway of people who think that they know better than others what people should believe and think, and how they should live. Ultimately that is the issue that Islamic terrorists have: we have a freedom to choose our own ways, and the ways we choose are not the ways THEY want.
*yes, I make typos all the damn time. Sue me. on second thought, don't.
What was his reply?
"What use is religion? Believing vs. actual scientific evidence is way more substantial. Believe all you god damn want to, what it boils down to is science. What you can see, feel, touch, experience. Reading some ancient text is a waist [sic] of my time, in my opinion. You can go your way but I think for humans to really evolve is abandon religion."
I couldn't let that slide:
First post: ...all religion should be abolished for good....
Second post: Believe all you god damn want to,...
Which is it? Will you, in your infinite wisdom, let me have freedom of religion, or not? First you say that all religion should be abolished for good. "Abolished" means outlawed, made illegal, eliminated entirely. Then you say I can believe all I "god damn want to". So which is it?
Do you want religion abolished, or not?
In any event it's a nice attempt at sidestepping my point: that such attitudes are no better than islamo-fascists who think that everyone should worship THEIR way.
He replied: "Yes, religion should be abolished yet you still have a right to believe in what you want. It's a double standard."
So I sez to him, I sez:
No; that is not a "double standard". That is SELF-CONTRADICTORY.
A "double standard" is what happens when two people in the same circumstances get different treatment. For example, if I go to the gas station and have to pay $3 per gallon for gas, but another guy goes there at the same time and only has to pay $2 per gallon.
Normally a double standard exists because of predjudicial factors: skin color, religion, creed, what-have-you.
Your compound statement, on the other hand, contradicts itself. You say that certain belief systems ought to be abolished.
[Here I put a link to the definition of "abolish" on dictionary.com]
You then say that I have a right to believe what I want. If my religion has been abolished--and you advocated that in your first post, that all religions should be abolished--where is my right to believe in it? If it has been abolished by a law making it illegal, I do not have a "right" to believe in my religion, do I?
Under United States law as currently written, I do have a right to freedom of religion, just as you have a right to say that you think religion ought to be abolished. But if religion HAS BEEN abolished, I no longer have the right to believe what I care to; freedom of religion is gone.
In any event, I will reiterate my original question to you, which you have still not answered: While you're deciding what people should believe and think, are you also thinking of controlling what they eat, watch, read, and wear? Because obviously you think none of us is smart enough to make up our own minds, pray tell us what we should do?
Do you only pay lip service to the idea of intellectual freedom? To the long-established rights set forth in the Bill of Rights? Because you can't have it both ways; if you advocate the abolishment of all religion, how can you be for religious freedom? How can you say, with a straight face, that all religion should be abolished and--in the same breath!--say that people have a right to believe what they want to?
In order not to distract him from my question I avoided the rest of his latter reply:
"Without religion, you wouldn't have people who believe they will be sent to heaven or saved by flying into towers. You will be able to rationalize and see the science behind everything. If there was a a [sic] Texas-sized meteorite right now going to slam into the earth, pray all you want, but the real thing is it's going to kill probably everything on earth. Some people rationalize it was god this and god that, point is you rationalize everything for that because you think there is a God and to think otherwise would send you to hell. What is a God to send you to hell because you don't believe in him? That's a narrow minded God."
...but it's rife with sloppy thinking.
"Without religion, you wouldn't have people who believe they will be sent to heaven or saved by flying into towers." Post hoc, ergo propter hoc: If religion didn't exist, people would not attack other people. Of course that is complete nonsense. Religion has been used as a justification for a lot of violence, it is true; but more often religion has played no role in war and violence, or an invese role. What role did the religion of Judaism play in the events in Germany in World War Two? It certainly did not cause the war. What about the 100,000,000 people killed by Communist regimes in the twentieth century? (That may not, actually, be a good example. Marxism is a jealous god and tolerates no other belief systems.)
"You will be able to...see the science behind everything."
Here, he shows his complete and utter ignorance of religious faith.
I know of very few people who are religious yet who don't accept science. There is a word for people who reject all science because some parts contradict their religion: fools. It may be hard for him to understand this, but most Christians in the early 21st century accept such facts as:
* The Earth is nowhere near the center of the physical universe.
* The Earth revolves around the sun
* The Earth is a sphere
* The law of universal gravitation
* If they fall from a high place, God will NOT save them from dying even if they pray
Further proof of his utter ignorance of religion comes from his statement, "...you think there is a God and to think otherwise would send you to hell."
Many of the Christians I chat with on-line do not believe in God beause they are afraid of going to hell. In fact, that isn't even faith. Most of them believe in God for deeply personal and/or spiritual reasons which have nothing to do with hell at all.
If you don't believe in God, why on earth would you believe in hell anyway? How does the fear of hell force one to believe in God if one does not already believe in Him? Hell does not exist unless there is a God Who created it, right?
"What is a God to send you to hell because you don't believe in him? That's a narrow minded God." (...I note with irony here that he capitalized "God".)
I think much of the failure of religion in the latter fifty years stems from people elevating themselves above God. People ask why they should have to follow God's rules--or face the consequences--when those rules seem arbitrary or mean or keep people from having fun?
Who is this guy to say what God should and should not do? Obviously since this guy is for the abolishment of all religion he doesn't really care, but most of the faithful accept that God is...well...God! He created the entire stinking universe for crying out loud. He owns the game! He made up the game! I'm pretty sure that means He can set whatever rules He wants!