Question 19

Question: What do you think the right way is to combat religious idiocy? Should there be confrontation? Is it ok to use emotional appeals, fear, etc (fighting fire with fire) to get people to listen? –Bones

Answer: First off, I do not believe in fear mongering. Fear mongering is a tool used by desperate people who lack a valid platform from which to speak. Just look at the last election and the types of commercials that ran… "Vote republican or terrorists will kill your family." So for me to say that people should question their religion for fear of something worse means that I don’t really have a good reason.

One has to have a good understanding of why they disapprove of religious idiocy in order to explain to people why it is bad. Using emotional appeals, fear, confrontation, etc is what religious people use to expand their ranks. That’s why we have this problem of religious idiocy in the first place. I would combat it with compassion, reason and a good dose of self-confidence. So many people flock to religion because they were either infected by their parents or had some life-altering event. Now the people that were infected can be dealt with by using reason and compassion. But those who have hit rock bottom need more. They usually lack the skills to cope with life’s surprises and need something or someone to help them. They can’t do it on their own. The prospect of "God" solving all your problems is very tempting because its easy… too easy.

What we need to do is reach out to those people and give them a little self-confidence and the tools to cope with life. I know quite a few people that ran to God because life dealt them such difficult problems and they lacked the ability to cope. It was sad.


5 Responses to “Question 19”

  1. Pseudonym says:

    First off, gasmonso, I really appreciate your thoughtful and respectful (with just a little disrespect to some who really deserve it!) answers.
    I’m in two minds about religious idiocy. Let’s take “creation science”/”intelligent design” (or whatever it’s called this week) as an example.
    On one hand, this nonsense is a real affront to science, and scientists are 100% right to attack it. I feel very sorry for the overwhelming majority of scientists out there who know it’s all crap, but don’t want to get distracted from what they get paid to do. (And, I might add, what they signed up for a career in science to do!) And people like Richard Dawkins are 100% right to bring their own (dis-)beliefs into it, too. Merely being an atheist shouldn’t rule you out of saying what you really think.
    But on the other hand, “intelligent design” (et al) is not a scientific belief, it’s a religious belief. As such, it really should be attacked on religious grounds, because that’s the root cause of the problem. And yet, the overwhelming majority of educated Christians (because ID does seem confined to a peculiar subset of Christianity) in the world who do accept mainstream scientific thinking on the matter don’t seem to bother with it.
    I know I don’t. Partly because where I live (which happens to be in Australia, but it could really be anywhere outside the US) it’s not an issue. Yeah, we have some fundie sects around. Yes, they’re growing a bit. But really, ID itself isn’t an issue because, to a first approximation, nobody takes it seriously.
    Partly because it’s a distraction from what Christianity is supposed to be about. There’s a lot of good that needs to be done in the world: hungry mouths to feed, sick to be healed, etc. Engaging in debates with stupid people kind of detracts from the main message.
    And that’s the dilemma: Smart people on both sides would rather be doing the right thing instead of casting pearls before swine. And thus do the emptiest vessels make the most noise.
    What to do?

  2. sidfaiwu says:

    I think we should promote reason and self-confidence whenever the opportunity arises. I like arguing religions issues because religion and philosophy are two of my favorite hobbies.

  3. Alcari says:

    Well, why write when you can quote.

    “”Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

    The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”"

    - Karl Marx

  4. Shaze says:

    The “short” Answer: ANY way you can.

  5. You made several nice points there. I did a search on the issue and found most people will agree with your blog.

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