Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Archbishop of Westminister wants Christians to play nice with the godless!

The Archbishop of Westminister wants Christians to treat atheists and agnostics with deep esteem. I laughed and laughed.

I mean, obviously, it'd be nice to be respected by Christians. I like being treated with respect! And I feel the reason I'm so militant is largely because after years of trying to be respectful to Christians I got deeply tired of their lack of respect so I started getting more and more aggressive until, y'know, I wrote Simon Peter.

I find this statement as a backhanded way of saying that, y'know, it's just a well-known fact that religious people don't respect or esteem non-beleivers. So, at some level I know it'd be nice for Christians to treat atheists respectfully.

But so long as Christianity is a religion, that can't really happen. The problem isn't one of respect, in the end, but that sincere religious people feel morally compelled to act on their religion. And no religion is based in honest reason. In the end, all religions take certain facts for granted - unalterably for granted. The usually take the physical existence of their god as a fact beyond dispute, and they usually take their primary religious works as truth beyond critique or reproach. The problem is that religious people use religion to make decisions that effect me, and they make these decisions on grounds that are beyond reason.

For instance, the Archbishop of Westminister is against gay marriages, against birth control, abortion, stem cell research, human cloning and a bunch of other things. Not because they hurt people. Indeed, they sometimes provide considerable help to people. Like condoms. They protect people against STDs. And they allow people to rationally plan families. How is this bad? Even vaguely? Even if you take the position that "fornication" is immoral, how can protecting yourself and your partner from a disease be immoral, too? Or explain how gay marriage is immoral? In all of these things, ultimately, they have to say that their god believes them to be wrong and it doesn't matter the rational explanation. They're wrong because Jehovah said so. And these people are advancing these positions because of their religion. In my democracy!

So, even if they pretend to listen to what atheists say, and say "please" and "thank you", well, there's a deeper problem than that, once that can't be fixed by superficial politeness. These religions, based on arbitrary authority, are doing things to the world. Things that need to be stopped. And so long as religious people believe these things based on their invention of divine authority, atheists will attack religion itself. Because religion is a stumbling block to making the world a better place. Which is the real problem with respect between atheists and religious people.

2 comments:

DB said...

The Archbishop of Westminister wants Christians to treat atheists and agnostics with deep esteem.

Ya, that will be the day. For the most part, your everyday Christian is like this, but the fundys are the problem. They try and demonize atheists with claims that Hitler used Darwin's theories during the Holocaust. Oh, or that Hitler was an atheist and he did those things because he was an atheist. The archbishop is confused.

Baht At said...

Given that there is considerable evidence that faith is merely an evolutionary adaption you don't get eaten by the lion while thinking about what you should do about the fact you can smell it's breath you do have to pity people who invest it with relevance in civilised society.

However that doesn't mean you should respect their views, all it means is they should be treated with compassion but otherwise ignored.