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Go to: Insulting religion

Ballardian's Avatar Jump to comment 498 by Ballardian

I don't want to get all warm and soppy, but as threads go this has been by far the most interesting I've seen on this topic.

If you're still interested, david2, here's a couple of responses:

This is not the place for a 10,000 word essay on political freedom, but I would have hoped it was obvious that when I affirmed free-speech and freedom of conscience I meant precisely the freedom to publicly express those views (whatever they are) without physical or legal molestation (provided e.g. violence is not advocated and minors are protected etc). It means, therefore, that those who regard political freedom as antithetical to human flourishing have every right to publicly disagree with me. How you can call this real, concrete freedom "pointless" and "meaningless" is beyond me, and I can only hope you don't actually mean what you appear to be saying.

I wouldn't call that political freedom pointless or meaningless. I was objecting to the idea that "allowing" people to believe what they like is in some way an exceptional thing to do.

As for Condell, i'm not familiar with all that he's said, but i've witnessed nothing which justifies your totalitarian accusation. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share it?

Well it's just a hunch based on his rather disproportionate rage. Let's just say, if he was granted a superpower, I'm not sure he wouldn't use it for villainous ends.

This is even more puzzling. Are followers of the Aztec religion entitled to your "tolerance -even respect"? If not, why not? And what about the millions of us who don't adhere to religious tenets but have equally committed ourselves to no-religious values and principles. Are we entitled to the same "tolerance-even respect"? If not, why not?

As an unbeliever myself of course I tolerate and respect those with no beliefs. I also can't deny that I am going to feel more comfortable with respecting Christianity or Islam or Judaism than followers of the Aztec religion, as I am more familiar with those religions, and despite my lifelong non-belief, more of a product of those religions. I also know people who follow those religions, which helps. I find it difficult to draw a complete equivalence between all faiths even though I disbelieve in all of them equally.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 08:09:06 UTC | #854128

Go to: Insulting religion

Ballardian's Avatar Jump to comment 428 by Ballardian

Comment 422 by david2

We must be looking out of very different windows then, because I would say that for the majority (but not all) of the contemporary "left" this is indeed accurate. Nor is the issue confined to religion, the same thing largely applies to issues of class.

Well let's just agree to disagree on this point then (although I do partially agree that the left's obsession with class, broadly speaking, can be irritating).

This is the $64,000 question. When you say "dissent" are you thinking of the freedom of others to reject those principles? Or, are you thinking that you may well, under the right circumstances, give up on some of your principles?

I don't think I would necessarily give up on my principles, but I may dissent from the prevailing view of what these principles mean. Feminism would be a good example. There are many issues that divide people who call themselves feminists: Islam is a major dividing issue nowadays, I think, as is pornography. Feminists come down on both sides, and many accuse the other side of somehow not being true to feminism. I've changed my mind on many feminist questions over the years, but never wavered from the basic principle of equality, it's just that what constitutes equality isn't always so obvious. There is ambiguity in all principles of this kind.

I can't make head nor tail of this part. How, after i've conceded the right of the religious (and everybody else) to believe whatever they like can you say that I "can't bear to give any ground to the religious"?

I don't think that by saying people can believe what they like you are conceding anything. What choice do you have? Belief is a private mental activity over which we have no control, so saying people can believe whatever they like is a bit pointless. New Atheists often say similar things. "You can believe what you like as long as it's kept in your own home and you don't bother me with it." This doesn't actually mean anything, and all it does is leave this question ringing in the air: if these atheists could actually control what people think or do privately, would they be saying the same thing? Mostly, yes (I would hope). But I'm not so sure about someone like Pat Condell.

And what kind of "ground" specifically do you propose that I concede to the religious? As for the issues of practising and believing, i've honestly no idea what you mean. Feel free to clarify . . .

You don't have to concede any ground if you don't want to. And you must know the difference between practice and belief. For most people I would wager that their religion is not about sitting in a dark room and reading their holy text for hours on end. It's a social thing, it's about ritual. This is practicing the religion. If this were to be denied of people there wouldn't be much left of religion (possibly that's what you want?) As for allowing public money and resources to go towards the practice of religion... this I sense would be a further chasm between us, as I probably have a much higher tolerance - even respect - for religious people and their activities.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 20:04:28 UTC | #853593

Go to: Insulting religion

Ballardian's Avatar Jump to comment 384 by Ballardian

Comment 375 by SurfDude

I also think it is vital that the "trendy" ideologically-driven Muslim apologist lefties on here realise that atheism, rationality and logic are not their sole preserve and that there are far more of us who are conservative with a small "c" out there than they could ever begin to comprehend. I personally know hundreds of atheists and only a few could be characterised as "left".

This has been one of my points all along. The "left" position is a minority one, always has been and it always will be. This is partly why I think paranoid and angry responses to Muslims are overreactions: the odds are stacked against Muslims in this country. When Pat Condell makes a video about Muslims he isn't a lonely voice in a wilderness of opposition. He's playing to a very large crowd. This is why his videos are so irritating. He tries to make himself sound like the underdog, when in fact he is the one applying pressure downwards and capitalising on hatred for a minority that is already abundant in the UK. He believes his supposed underdog status gives him permission to be harsh, but this is an illusion (and the illusion is believed by so many - look at all the people who call him "brave").

Also I'm not sure anyone here is an "ideologically-driven Muslim apologist". Some people have objected to gross and insulting generalisations about Muslims, or paranoid and worrying overreactions to immigration, but this does not make an apologist. Trust me, I would make a terrible Muslim apologist. I'm also not of the left in any real sense, but that's a different issue.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 17:42:37 UTC | #853167

Go to: Insulting religion

Ballardian's Avatar Jump to comment 320 by Ballardian

Comment 312 by david2

It's like deja vu all over again. I can't productively respond to such mesmerising denial any longer. In previous threads on similar topics, well-established and easily known facts are piled higher and higher, one upon another, and yet, . . . it makes absolutely no difference to some people.

It's not simply denial. There's a perception that if someone on the left doesn't come down heavily on certain issues (usually religion is the one that bugs people here) then they then don't have any principles or values, or they only favour what they think are the "weak" groups out of a kind of blind anti-prejudice. This is inaccurate.

Again, this tells me that you're simply not interested in the facts, since nothing could be clearer than that, although I respect group a), I most certainly don't agree with them.

Sorry, you weren't clear at all. In none of your previous posts on this thread did you say you disagreed with group a). So I just assumed you did.

Not to "whom", to what. And the "what" in question is certain principles I outlined earlier.

I don't believe in complete allegiance to principles with no possibility of dissent. This is a strength.

Again you either misunderstand or misrepresent me. No one is "condemning" complexity, which, you may be surprised to learn, has ALWAYS existed, in every context, regarding every controversial issue. Complexity isn't the issue, the issue is that some forms of "complexity" are more equal than others, because this "complexity" (which is omnipresent) is almost never invoked when other issues are highlighted. Thus "complexity" is usually a euphemism for turning a blind eye to issues you're reluctant to face.

Well that's not how I meant complexity. I don't use it to turn a blind eye. And yet you said I was diluting my allegiance.

So you're saying that any action sanctioned by religion X should be permitted by followers of religion X? I don't think you've thought this through properly. There's a big difference between practising and believing, and since I affirmed freedom of speech and freedom of conscience that obviously allows the religious to believe whatever they like. What it doesn't do is allow them to act as they like.

It doesn't allow them to act as the like. Why don't you just look up what "freedom of religion means"? It doesn't mean religious people can do whatever they like. You're willfully misunderstanding because you can't bear to give any ground to the religious. And there isn't a big difference between practicing and believing where religion is concerned. Religion for most people is a lot more about practice than belief.

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 08:09:18 UTC | #852931

Go to: Insulting religion

Ballardian's Avatar Jump to comment 307 by Ballardian

Comment 303 by david2

If by "simplifying" you mean significantly distorting, then I would strenuously deny that my "two types" does this. As for "left-hating", I specifically stated that I respected the former type. I have little or no respect for the views of the latter (which represents the majority).

I really don't think the latter type represents the majority. That type seems to only be detectable in academic departments, if anywhere at all. Relativists, or whatever you like to call them, are always mentioned or gestured towards in places like this as if they are everywhere trying to subvert all values and truth. This isn't the case.

I have the feeling that your two "types" can more easily be defined as a) those who agree with you, and b) those who don't.

No sooner are you agreeing with valuing the "good things" I mentioned than you immediately begin to "contextualise" and dilute your allegiance. This, in a nutshell, is why we (the west) are ripe for appeasement.

Allegiance to whom? Admitting that things are complex is hardly to be condemned. It's a good way of avoiding radical generalisations as best we can (we all make sweeping statements from time to time) and bearing in mind that one's opinion is not infallible just because one holds it.

I also don't think this attitude defines "the west" at all.

"Freedom of religion" is a phrase i've often heard, but I have no idea what it means. Perhaps you can enlighten me?

Freedom to practice religion (or not). I thought it worth emphasising among all the scary talk (even among the calmer people here) about getting rid of religion, or at least desiring for religion not to exist.

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 20:36:18 UTC | #852798

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