Hug a Believer – Questioning Religion is not Bigotry

Landru – a real god or just an oppressive phantom? From Star Trek’s “Return of the Archons”

In the famous Star Trek episode, questioning the religion of Landru is not bigotry. Notice the phasers are never directed at the believers – but at the program which denied the believers their freedoms.

A GOOD PERSON QUESTIONS BAD IDEAS

Most Atheists are compassionate and care about other people – it is how many of us became Atheists in the first place. And to challenge a religious claim or idea can be an act of compassion.

Religions are comprised of extraordinary, powerful claims which can damage a person’s ability to think clearly. The threat of Hell, for example, stops many people from ever being able to think objectively about the rest of the claims. Believers usually inherit these ideas from their families and should not be blamed for being stuck in this mental rut. Many of us Atheists were believers once. We should be mindful, sympathetic and understanding.

RELIGION IS FAIR GAME FOR DEBATE

Some say questioning a religion is a bigoted thing to do. This is ridiculous and Atheists can make the argument if they give it some careful thought. After all, religious claims must be fair game for debate and discussion.

Religious claims are just ideas like any other. To argue against an idea is not bigoted. Consider political ideas; do you hear Republicans calling Democrats ‘bigots’ for arguing against spending? Of course not. And we know religions are just ideas because millions of people change their religions as often as they change ideas.

Yes, religion is a human right. As it should be. A person should not be prejudged or denied a job or services because of their religion. But the religious in turn must answer for it when they try to force their claims on society through laws and propaganda.

IF THE PROPAGANDA IS NOT BIGOTED
THE COUNTER PROPAGANDA CANNOT BE BIGOTED EITHER

If it is not bigoted for a Christian to approach a Hindu and try to preach how “Jesus is a better god than Vishnu” then it cannot be bigoted to argue against Jesus to that same preacher. For if it is true that pushing a religious claim onto believers of other faiths is bigoted then the Christians should CLOSE THE MISSIONS. Rejecting the faiths of  indigenous peoples is exactly what Christian missionaries have done all over the world for centuries. They cannot be permitted to say it is not bigoted in their case – but it is bigoted when others do it. That is a fallacy called special pleading and it isn’t fair.

Bigotry happens when we treat groups of people unfairly – it is about those qualities which people cannot change: ethnicity, nationality, eye color, skin color, foot size, hair color – that sort of thing. But a person’s ideas, especially those he is forcing on other people, must be fair game and open for debate.

IF IT IS NOT BIGOTED TO PREACH JESUS
IT CANNOT BE BIGOTED TO PREACH AGAINST HIM

And it makes no sense to conflate dislike of a certain idea into something it isn’t.

To hate a prison is not to hate the prisoners.
To hate bowling is not to hate bowlers.
To hate smoking is not to hate smokers.
To hate eating liver is not to hate those who eat liver.
To hate golf is not to hate golfers.
To hate conspiracy theories is not to hate those suckered into believing them.
To hate Italian food is not to hate Italians.
To hate a religious claim is NOT to hate the believers.

RELIGIONS USE WEAPONS TO ARGUE.
BUT DEBATE IS A BETTER IDEA.

If society is not careful, religion could be handed a right it does not and should not have –  the right to shut down conversation and debate. Religions pretend argument is not allowed but this is emphatically not true. Religions argue all the time – mostly using heavy weapons.

I am only asking people to realize the same religious claims which lead to war could be discussed with words and debate instead of weapons. Humans are capable of destroying the world over nonsensical religious claims. If they are going to argue let’s do it without the weapons. Let’s treat religion for what it is – a bunch of ideas which must be discussed fearlessly.

A religion which cannot stand up to questions should be abandoned.

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About Atheist Max

I'm a former Christian who became Atheist in middle age. My blog is a journal of how I lost religion and discovered a better life. For Peace, Civility and the Separation of Church and State
This entry was posted in love, Positive Atheism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hug a Believer – Questioning Religion is not Bigotry

  1. Jon Darby says:

    Christians have their own form of this in their adage of “Love the sinner; hate the sin.”

    …of course, I’m sure that’s different somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Atheist Max says:

      Jon Darby,

      “Christians have their own adage..”Love the sinner, hate the sin” – I’m sure that is different somehow”

      Yes. It is worth exploring why this Christian adage is just a parlor trick.

      1. “Sin” is not real and it cannot be isolated from the person. It is an arbitrary judgement against someone’s behavior.
      2. Sin can’t be ‘hated’ without hating the person (i.e., if the person is gay, for example) and sin cannot be punished without punishing the person.
      3. “Love the sinner” may include killing the sinner to save their soul – biblically supportable unfortunately.

      Bigotry is inherent in identifying someone a ‘sinner’. To “love the sinner” is to immediately apply bigotry and condescension in one phrase.

      Another big difference. The Believer is a victim of indoctrination. But “The Sinner” is a person who has been falsely accused of having a deficiency, falsly accused of needing correction and falsely identified as a problem person.

      Liked by 1 person

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