Monday, 28 December 2015
OK, the crazy holiday season is over and I have time to spare. I love this time of year. Too cold to play outside, but rather than whine and bitch I take the time to do indoor stuff and really enjoy it. This time of year I organize, clean, repair, paint, craft, and........write. Some nutbars write in November. I don't have time. I write in deep winter when there's not so much other stuff going on.
And despite lots of material, I was well-behaved and didn't write anything "difficult" over Christmas. I didn't even share the meme about Isaac Newton's birthday. It's just an etiquette thing, I don't shit on people's parades.
Not that I'm afraid to go there. I love a discussion on the topic of religion. Not everyone does, and for all sorts of different reasons. Some, because they just aren't interested, which is fair enough. Some don't think it's polite to discuss it. I think that's reasonable at a social gathering, but here, well, that's this medium is FOR. Some don't like their views being examined or opposed. This is where it gets quite interesting.
There are those who are anti-religion in all forms, no exceptions, and they haven't got anything good to say about it. Obviously, if they take part in a discussion, it will change the tone. Those who object to their stance have several options, they can argue, they can ignore them, they can attempt to change their minds, or they can just respond.
The same applies with the other extreme, the hardcore believers. It isn't necessary to accept what they say. There are just many ways to disagree.
So, there's this whole idea about respect. I try to be respectful of people. Even if they have an opinion diametrically opposite to mine, I try to focus any opposition I have on that opinion, rather than aim negativity at the person sharing that opinion. Sometimes it is really difficult. And there comes a time that if an individual offers too many opinions opposite to mine, that there seems no point in talking to them. Where is that line drawn? Lots of variables there. I give more leeway to the young, and to those I consider to be compromised in some way. If you are an educated adult, let's say sometimes I remain courteous with effort.
Because while my respect for a person is based on kindness, my respect for their opinions is based on what harm I consider could come of them. To be kind there is to enable harm. I won't do that.
And so, there have been times when I've been called anti-religion - which is partly true, but not fully - and specifically I've been called anti-(insert religion here). That is not true. Take the Mormons for example. I consider the LDS belief system to be a sham. A bit of Christianity, a bit of Masonic stuff, and a lot of fantasy straight out of the head of Joseph Smith. He even confessed to his practices being fraudulent.
So, the religion itself is mostly bollocks, but is it harmful? That is not a question that can be easily answered yes or no. Only the most anti of the anti religious would say yes. What has to be said is that some of the teachings of the church are good, and some are not. And some of the adherents are good people, and some are not. And it's not a contest. You can't say it's better or worse than any other belief system because you have to break it down bit by bit to compare.
To me, all that matters is the behaviour of the followers. Their actual beliefs are irrelevant. If I see harm in any given belief, I'll say so. If I see harmful behaviour by any member of that belief system, I'll say so. And I won't always blame the one for the other, because sometimes it's causal, and sometimes it isn't.
I think that people are shitheads, or they're not. And some are part shithead and part not. Or 24% one or the other, or whatever. And that is who they are, religion be damned. And there are shitheads in all religions, and there are shitheads with no religion.
The difference, when it comes right down to it, is that religious shitheads have the idea that they are called by God to be shitheads. Superior shitheads, if you like. Holy shitheads.
No, I'm not anti anything except anti harm. If I am "rude" about something to do with religion, it's because I see it as harmful. No harm? No problem.
No, I don't think one religion is better than another. There are things I personally prefer in whatever religion. Which is not the same thing. I am liberal minded, so naturally I don't like conservative religious stuff. Duh.
So, this week, and until I get bored with it, I'm open to, and encouraging, and probably starting religious discussions. The blogs will be here, the discussions will be at Facebook. If you read me here but don't have me on Facebook, ask nicely and I'll add you. I do NOT respond to emails or private messages on these topics. If you send me an interesting private comment I'll include it in my next blog (don't worry, I won't name you). If you send me any proselytizing messages, I'll just ignore them. We're here to learn from one another, not convert one another.