Gandalf Stormcrow

A bringer of news. A wielder of truth. If you wish to remain in the shadow of ignorance or delusion, this is not the place for you. Go back to the shadow! Those thoughts will not avail you here! YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

“Respecting” Religion?

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I was reading an online post the other day wherein someone said something derogatory about Jesus. Naturally, there was a flurry of back and forth commentary. One of the posters admonished the posters and readers that people should, “Respect all religions, even if it’s with your silence. If you disagree with it, you don’t need to voice your opinion.” I thought about that comment for a few moments, and decided that I needed to respond—and to write about it briefly in my blog.  And I won’t even discuss the fact that every American has the constitutionally protected right to express their opinions on any subject they choose—even if some others find it “offensive.” No, I won’t even focus on that, because the right to speak freely is a given, and even jesus and muhammad are fair game. (The use of lower case in their names is very much intentional.)

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To those who would say that religions should be given automatic respect simply for existing (especially their own religion, of course), I say this: Religions (as institutions) do not deserve respect. Religions (and those who choose to affiliate and associate themselves with religions and who are acting as religious leaders, defenders, apologists, or advocates) must constantly prove themselves worthy of respect—which they (i.e., the institutions themselves) have never done. In the name of religion, billions of people all over the world are (currently!) oppressed, divided, swindled, manipulated, deceived, brainwashed, used as spreaders of hate, deprived of human rights, imprisoned, or murdered every single day—and this has been going on for millennia! How can anyone with a conscience be “silent” about this, or give “respect” to religions or to religious figures? Thankfully, there are growing numbers of people who refuse to be silent and let this backward shit continue unchallenged—in any form or iteration. I am glad to live in a society that protects the speech of individuals—the speech of the outnumbered. And I am glad that so many good people are able to overcome the well-intentioned religious indoctrination (the brainwashing) they received as children and are willing to speak out against the establishment-sanctioned, and long-ago metastasized cancer of religion. There need to be more, because religion is not innocuous to human society—and it certainly isn’t beneficial.

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Be “respectfully silent?” Uh… no. I submit, that to be silent is not “respectful”—it is to approve. To be silent is not “respectful”—it to be complicit. I would much rather speak out and have those responsible for such atrocities and injustices (and those who participate in them through their “respectful silence”) think me disrespectful, than to allow the disease of religion to spread any further and to ruin or take one more life. Religions do not ever “deserve” respect. What they deserve is careful scrutiny. They deserve to be questioned. They deserve to be controlled and limited, because they are predatory by nature. Scrutiny, questions, reasoned thought, science, truth, and the free exchange of ideas are the bane of powerful, controlling institutions like religion FOR A REASON—because religions are inherently secretive, corrupt, divisive, extremely bigoted, bogus, oppressive, über-controlling, intimidating, manipulating, intolerant, progress-inhibiting, thought-suppressing, for-profit, power-grabbing, influence-peddling, criminal enterprises that cause far more harm to human society than they provide good.

Religion predates the formation of governments, I believe, so it was likely the religions of the world that originally taught/required people to group themselves together and hate and discriminate against the other religious and non-religious “groups” because they were different and served other “gods” (and they still do this shit—on the written instructions of their “gods” and their “prophets”). It was religion, therefore, that likely planted the original seeds for things like bigotry, and racism, and sexism, and oppression, and intolerance, and societal division in the hearts of mankind. I don’t believe these things exist naturally in the hearts of most people. It seems rather obvious to me that humanity learned these behaviors from participation in religion, and through blind obedience to its sick, twisted, divisive precepts, which people have long ago begun to apply more broadly toward one another. These concepts and behaviors were reinforced and greatly solidified in our societies when governments began to form and divide and control us more completely and effectively; but it was religion, I believe, that started it all and which still serves as the primary “moral” justification for its continued existence in society.

Click to Enlarge. Notice what she's wearing.

Click to Enlarge. Notice what she’s wearing.

Besides, if religions were legitimate—if the “god’s” they serve were actually real, who among us mere mortals could find fault in them or their “holy” religious doctrine? Who could judge or criticize an institution based on, and governed by, a truly infallible, perfect, all-powerful, omniscient “god of the universe?” It’s just ridiculous and silly and the people of the world are divided and hating one another for no damned reason.

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Peace…

I am here to challenge your comfortable and familiar perceptions and paradigms—to help awaken you—to make you think. — AAJG

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5 thoughts on ““Respecting” Religion?

  1. It really depends what you mean by religion. If you mean what people believe with all their heart. Then of course you have to respect it, because to not respect it is to not respect their opinion. Indoctrination comes in many forms in modern society, not just from religion. Media, Schooling. All these things need to be fought against, not just scapegoating religion as the cause of all these problems. What worth is freedom of speech if no one respects or listens to anything you say? A balance is needed. Hating on abstractions, such as religion, is not the answer.

  2. Hi Jonathan. Thanks for your feedback. I will attempt to clarify.

    Let me begin by addressing perhaps the most important statement you made. To vocally oppose something that actually harms hundreds of millions of my fellow human beings is not “hating on an abstraction.” The concept of religion may be an abstraction, but its application in real life and its myriad detrimental effects on society are not. As I indicated in my original post, religion is neither benign nor innocuous in human society. It never has been. It’s a mental pandemic that is causing very real harm to most of the world’s population (in one form or another), and it needs to be “treated“—through strong vocal opposition and large doses of truth and public exposure. (Please read the quote about truth at the top of my blog home page.) Religion may be an abstraction, Jonathan, but its widespread harmful effects on human society are not. It has sold human society on that lie, as effectively as it has sold the idea that its gods exist; that it alone can define and judge morality; that women don’t deserve respect, true equality, or civil and human rights; that gays are an “abomination” that must be murdered and burned in hell for eternity; that you have a moral obligation to give your hard-earned money to the leaders of the religion so they can use it to live like royalty and to spread the disease of religious servitude to others; and (here’s the real clincher) that there’s an afterlife wherein one will be greatly esteemed and rewarded AS LONG AS they allow themselves to be fully controlled and used (in this life) by the so-called “chosen leaders” of the religion (even against the urgings of their own common sense and logic) and if they do all the wacky shit that they’re told to like good little robots—but, of course, if they don’t submit fully (“with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength” [Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27]) and behave like obedient little mind-slaves they face a lake of fire where they’ll burn endlessly—forever. (Is it just me, or does part of that last bit sound a little like the mindless zombies in the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers?) There is nothing harmless about the application of religion in human society. Nothing. Jonathan, as long as it is done nonviolently and using words of truth to expose religion for what it really is and for the very real damage it causes to innocent people, “hating” and vocally opposing it most definitely IS the answer. I owe it to the millions of oppressed who have no voice, to speak out—even if it “offends” their oppressors (and so does everyone with a conscience).

    I, along with most people, could care less what anyone believes in the privacy of their hearts. As for the things they say are concerned, they have the right and freedom to speak their minds (at least, they do in America)—even if what they say is “offensive” to some and stupid-as-hell sounding to others. One’s individual beliefs, thoughts, and words are not the problem. The “concept” of religion is not the problem, per se (though the forms in which it currently exist and the ways in which it is applied in the world are extremely problematic).

    No, it isn’t abstract thoughts, concepts, and speech that are the problem, Jonathan. It is a person’s actions that are the problem—especially when they form themselves into large, powerful groups and begin to bully others and forcibly apply their crazy moral standards to the rest of us. It is their behaviors (too often based on their “almighty god’s” word, mandate, approval, and promise of eternal reward) which adversely affect other people’s ability to live freely and to pursue happiness as they see fit, that are at issue. That’s the problem, and religion is the biggest dealer of that kind of retarded thinking that I know of in all of human society. I don’t “hate on” the abstraction of an individual person’s right and freedom to hold beliefs (religious or otherwise) and to “worship” an invisible made-up deity if they want to. That which remains in one’s own mind or heart, and is held private is abstract. It doesn’t harm anyone. Their words are also abstract. Their actions are not. That which is brought out into the public arena and forced onto others through unwanted, degrading, menacing, or hurtful acts is obscene, barbaric, and wrong—even if one’s imaginary sky-daddy “told” them to do it.

    On your point about freedom of speech: One has the right to free speech—that is all. One does not have the “right” to be listened to, though—any more than a singer has a “right” to an audience, or a chef has the “right” to have people eat his/her food. A singer can sing all they want to. It is uniquely my choice whether I purchase his/her music or not, and (with me) that depends on its content. A chef can cook all the food they like. But that chef does not have the “right” to have customers. Their rights haven’t been abridged in any way if no one wants to eat their food—even once. Maybe the food sucks. Maybe the singer sucks. Maybe the opinions of the speaker suck.

    Further, one does not have the “right” to be agreed with, and one does not have the “right” to have their words or opinions respected—universally or otherwise. (Remember that thanks to religion, many millions hold the extremely retarded “opinions” that women are a lower class of human than men and that gays do not deserve life, much less the opportunity to marry and be happy. They may believe these things with all their heart, as you put it, but they are ridiculous and hateful opinions that cannot ever earn respect from any right-thinking person. People who think like that and whose speech includes that kind of trash don’t deserve the respect of being listened to, and I think most people would agree with me.) One must want to listen to someone’s speech. One’s ideas must convince each listener that they are meritorious and worthy of respect. One’s words, ideas, or opinions are not ever owed respect. Ever. One’s right to speak them is guaranteed in America (though that right has been eroded somewhat in recent years). Nothing else.

    And here is where religion gets really dangerous to us all, Jonathan. One does not (or at least, they should not) have the right to band together with others into a large, powerful group, give their group a name (e.g., christianity, islam, judaism, etc.), invent an all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful deity to give their group credibility and the “moral authority” to do as they please, and then in the name of (and with the “authority” of) that “god” and its “prophets,” begin to forcibly impose their will, traditions, morality, and expectations onto others—whether in the name of their creepy “sky-daddy” or not. To do so, is not an abstraction, Jonathan. It is a very real, harmful action, and it is that which I hate and oppose about religion and similar mind-controlling philosophies (and I think much of the world agrees with me).

    Religions require (and they authorize), in the name of an invented “almighty god,” all sorts of heinous acts against other human beings, against whole demographic groups, and against whole races and societies; so religions are in a special category of CREEPY, and bear significant and specific watching in order to protect innocent people from them.

    Beheading gays simply for existing, or subjugating women to a lower class of humanity, or hanging a 16 year old girl for being raped, or forcing one’s religious morality onto an entire population, or tricking the old and desperate out of their money, or actively teaching intolerance to the entire human population, or causing someone to blow themselves up in an outdoor market and kill innocent people who are just trying to shop for their family’s supper, or depriving girls and women of an education so they can more easily controlled, or flying airliners into skyscrapers are not abstractions. These very real things happen every single day—in the name of, and with the approval, mandate, protection, and reward of religion (in its myriad perverted forms). I know of no other man-made social force on earth so pervasive and utterly harmful to human society than religion (except the media, and politics [which is a “religion” unto itself for most people] in very modern times, and I have plans to talk about these at some point in the future—when I have time). Not in an abstract, personal-belief way; but in very real and very harmful-to-others ways.

    Though there are many who would disagree with me, I still maintain that religion, whether as a concept or as an institution, does not (here is the operative word) deserve respect. If it is respectable, it will be respected. The degree to which it is respected universally, is dependent upon what it stands for and how it affects people in their daily lives. Things that are universally recognized as beneficial to us as humans are pretty much universally given respect. Things which only favor a certain segment of the human population (and are therefore inherently unfair or harmful to others) are far more likely to be respected and adopted only by those it benefits, but hated by others who either don’t benefit from it or who are actually harmed by it in some way.

    I am not “scapegoating” religion as the cause of “all” the problems. I am fed up with religion and I am speaking out about the actual harm it actually does to actual human society. Nowhere have I said that it alone is responsible for all of humanity’s problems or failings. But the reality is that it is a HUGE problem all over the world and it needs to be addressed, and exposed, and opposed—with great vigor. I am doing that, as are others. I have no obligation to give equal criticism to all of society’s problems. There are others who will devote time and effort to them. I have chosen this one, for now, because in my estimation it is the biggest, most universally harmful institution in human history.

    “The loud and vocal dissenter against organized and state-sanctioned hate, bigotry, oppression, violence, and intolerance (such as that which exists as a result of religion), is not a “hater” and he is not being disrespectful even if he publicly shames, ridicules, and greatly offends the sensibilities of those he opposes and their supporters.”

    There is a bit more info about this on my “About” page, though admittedly, I didn’t take the time to articulate it as thoroughly as I could have. Perhaps I will do that soon.

    Peace…

    • Saad Abdullah on said:

      chk out your Bible dude and then talk

      If you see a pretty woman among your captives and would like her for a wife, then bring her home and “go in unto her.” Later, if you decide you don’t like her, you can simply “let her go.” (Deuteronomy)

      Paul points out in New Testament Romans that “the natural use” of women is to provide men with sex. (Romans)

      “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)

      “This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)

      “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18)

      “And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

      “When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

      they are in thousands what do you say now???

      And coming to the verse of Quran:

      [Quran 4:34].( the verse quoted in above picture )
      The interpretation of this verse is that Allaah gave men the duty of protecting, helping and supporting women; this means that a man is responsible for the protection, help and support of the woman, and Allaah granted him with such a right for reasons:
      Man has given more strength than woman.
      Suppose some thief broke into your house, what would you do?? Give your wife, a knife and tell her to kill the thief??? or you do something?? of course, you do.

      Woman should be obedient to her husband and a husband also should respect his wife, this is what we call love. So what’s the problem here??
      Tell me if you found your wife on one of your friend’s bed having sex with him..
      What would you do?? Islam talks about that… dont kill her but leave her( give her divorce etc ) If your brain doesnot accept the reality then for God sake, dont try to spread false rumours. No offence brother! just an advice..

      • To Saad Abdullah: I don’t have a bible, “dude.” I’m not a christian, or didn’t you get that from my post and lengthy followup comment to Jonathan? I am an atheist. Look up the word if you need to.

        ALL religion is pathetic and dangerous—as evidenced by your own comments. I believe I covered whether “religion” is owed respect. I did not argue the case of islam vs christianity, since they are both creepy and illegitimate. Perhaps you have comprehension problems. And if you support and defend islam, you are in NO way by “brother.”

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