Insistency Of Consistency…

What’s In A Name…

I’m often troubled with how religions, as well as how religious people can be treated on social media.  I see memes and assertions daily poking fun at religion, at religious people, and in many instances, calling for others to step away from religion.  I find this unsavory on one level, and sad on another.

I have many atheist friends, and I understand why so many doubt or disbelieve in a higher power.  I get it.  For many, atheism is the right choice.  I would defend a person’s right to be atheist with all I have in me, despite that I am not one.

As a point of clarification though, if a person is against religion – if he or she speaks out against, or puts effort toward to pulling people away from religion, they are not an atheist, they are an antitheist.  They would also be a bigot.

Raise Your Hand If…

By the cursory definition that an atheist believes in an absence of deities, somewhere between 2-13% of the human population are declared atheists.  This suggests that the remaining 87-98% of the human population are either unsure of deities, or otherwise committed to one.

One data source I used suggests that 6.5 billion of the planet’s 7.1 billion people believe in a higher power.  Of that 6.5 billion people, 78% claim a religious affiliation of some sort, though many are not active within their associated affiliation.

If that large a percentage of the world’s population believes in a god and has even a lose religious affiliation, and if a person feels compelled to make fun of or to attempt to pull their friends and loved ones away from religion, they are not only antitheists and bigots, but they are also fighting the largest of losing causes.

On Simple Amusement…

One of the great ironies I see with those who poke fun at religion, and of those who would have religion abolished if they were so empowered, is that very often these same people are socially liberal.  That is, they are defenders of causes such as LBGT rights, cannabis legalization, and freedoms of expression, yet they are actively against a belief in the divine.

The antitheist, despite the probability that they are socially liberal, are too often compelled to tease and even torment believers, and to treat them as though they are doddering ignoramuses who are lucky enough to keep from tying their own shoes together each morning.  Again, I find this unsavory, but more deeply, I feel that making fun of a great majority of all humans to be repugnant.

If I, in the presence of a socially liberal friend were to poke fun at a gay or transgender person, I would be immediately rebuked and taken to task.  Still, the urge to poke fun at those who find salvation in prayer is entertaining, if not uncontrollable for many who I have just described.

tolerance

Give me light.  Give me life.  Keep me free from birth…

Be Consistent With Your Hate, As Well As With Your Love…

All I’m suggesting here is consistency.  If you’re okay with other people smoking pot, having same-gender consensual sex, and implore on behalf of the freedoms of choice, and you don’t make fun of anyone for it, then please be okay with someone who believes in god and chooses to pray.

As there is no need to shame or criticize someone because they have a pot leaf on their t-shirt, there is also no need to shame or criticize someone for having a cross or a star as their profile picture.  Conversely, if you’re going to poke fun at someone for believing in god, please take time to pick on the coloreds and the fags too.

We all have the right to stand for what we believe in.  There is no need though, at all, to make fun of someone’s beliefs for the simple satisfaction of a smirk or a laugh.  We can do better than that.  As a species, it’s time we practice to understand.  Be well.  rc

________________________________________________

If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Rick Astley.  Don’t blame me on this one.  I put it to my social media community to choose this week’s song.  You can all blame, Drea!!!!

Mixed Thoughts On Religious Tolerance…

Calling 9/11…

In the days after 9/11 people went to books stores and got online in droves to attain, read and better understand the Qur’an. Presumably, so they might better understand the motivation behind the attack on the World Trade Centers. Huston Smith once wrote, “nobody ever curled up on a rainy night with the Qur’an.” Honestly, on the heels of 9/11 the need to better understand Islam never crossed my mind.

I guess I was fortunate inasmuch as I didn’t feel a need to read Islamic text to better understand Muslims. I simply saw them daily and up close. I had two Muslim clients at the time; hardworking business people with dreams, beliefs, shortcomings, puppies, and tonsillitis – just like me. Because we were social in and out of the gym, I saw firsthand through their extended families and friends what their surface lives looked like. With the exception of names which were often difficult to pronounce, their lives and mine were surprisingly similar.

My friends, both female, didn’t dress in what we think of as traditional Islamic women’s attire – unless sweat pants and ponytails fall into that category. From their gym memberships, to their favorite chocolates, to Wiggles concerts and all in-between, they were Americans.

They didn’t remain clients too long after 9/11, though they do remain friends. Despite that they dressed and conducted themselves like normal Americans, they had middle eastern names, darker skin, and did little to hide their Muslim faith, though they were not overtly Muslim. Their Islam, like many people’s religion, was just something they carried in their back pocket, to be taken out as needed.

Celebrate difference...

Celebrate difference…

In a conservative town though, it became increasingly hard for them to go out without having their faith publicly questioned, and often persecuted by the ignorant. In watching this take place I would learn that ignorance can be overpowering. So overpowering that my two friends eventually left the area in favor of the more forgiving downtown San Diego where there is a more broadminded populous.

To think, from that singular day in 2001, and from the actions of only a few, every day thereafter my friends, like many Muslims in the US, would have to pull their Islam from their back pocket and present it like some kind of cultural ID card to be scrutinized whenever questioned by the ignorant. How old that must have gotten. Rarely do I see Christians and Jews have to explain their beliefs or justify their intentions while buying detergent, based solely on the act of a few on a given day.

Broad Brush Strokes…

I was asked recently by a young woman I mentor about the differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I was quick to channel her toward seeking the commonalities between them, explaining she would learn more by directing her attention to how similar the 3 faiths are. She kept pressing me though, as if she might discover some major difference(s) if I were to better divide the 3 religions for her.

22739592_1_m

I explained that broad brush strokes usually paint blurry pictures, but I would do my best to reduce it to three fundamentals differences which I see to be as much cultural as they are religious:

– Christianity is fundamentally about forgiveness over indiscretion.
– Judaism is about repairing indiscretion.
– Islam is about living life in a way that there is no need for forgiveness or repair.

None of those 3 explanations is more noble than the other two. I’ll even suggest that it is the goal of each faith to combine all 3; to forgive, to repair, and to move forward in a better way, but that each tenet noted above is central to its corresponding faith. However broad those brush strokes might be, I actually stand with them. I feel very good about offering this perspective to my young friend.

Atheism, Islam, And Prejudice…

One of the great ironies I see in the social media era is this: I have a network of liberal, open-minded friends who would fight to their death to protect my human rights. If I were gay, transgender, or preferred to have sex with monkeys, they would support me. I find an unsavory duality with the knowledge that many of those open minded friends are against all religion and call themselves atheists.

By the way, being against religion doesn’t make one an atheist. It makes one an anti-theist. In an even more inverse irony, many of these anti-theist friends are now standing up for immigrant Muslims, yet take a hard stand against American Christianity. This makes no sense and can’t be explained, only rationalized.

Simply put, if a person is against religion as a collective, or any particular religion, that is a form of prejudice – period. To be against anyone’s beliefs in favor of their own is an undeniable act of bigotry. So please, don’t defend my right to have sex with monkeys if you won’t also support my right to pray to a god – any god, or every last god in the pantheon.

zJShx

Religion has been part of our cultural DNA since hunter-gatherer times. Like any trait of biological evolution, if religion did not serve a sound purpose in carrying our species upward and ahead, cultural evolution would have weeded religion out long ago. Clearly it has not. Be well… rc

__________________________________________________________________________
Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there is this from Jellyfish. Enjoy!