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Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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para handy
Posts: 587
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:39 pm

Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#1 Post by para handy » October 7th, 2008, 2:09 pm

I'm not sure who first said you can't reason people out of ideas they didn't use reason to acquire in the first place but I have a lot of sympathy with that view. The bottom line seems to be 'faith' - how do you respond to that?

I saw this post elsewhere on the web by an American:
If we ever hope to dismantle the dominance that religion has in culture, we must make it unfashionable, uncool, and untenable, especially to the younger generations.

We can't change unreasonable and intractable minds with reason, but we can ridicule them. And we should.

I'm not talking about politely disagreeing with people when they say, "Thank God," or whatever. I'm saying we should boistrously and unashamedly make fun of people who invoke religion or mythical beings at every opportunity. We should make them embarrassed that they even opened their mouths.

And if we can't eliminate their illegitimate thinking, at least we should make them think twice about openly declaring their beliefs in polite company. Put the shoe on the other foot. Make them them out to be crazy. Drive them underground. Deny them public office.

Arm yourself: Learn to counter the arguments they're going to use defending their beliefs. Insist they can't quote from a book riddled with errors. Learn the history of preceding religions, and you can easily show theirs is just another copycat, Pagan and Egyptian-based sun/death worship cult.

Remind people that it's perfectly fine to ridicule the ridiculous on any other topic, and that religious beliefs deserve no special protection from intelligent and rational debate.

Join in discussions. Use the herd instinct just like the herd instinct was used to get us into this collective bovine state of mind in the first place.
I'm not saying I agree with this strategy which sounds like bullying to me but I can see how making religion seem 'uncool' might make some teenagers think a bit more about it. What I'm not sure is how you make religion seem uncool.

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Alan H
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#2 Post by Alan H » October 7th, 2008, 2:14 pm

para handy wrote:I'm not saying I agree with this strategy which sounds like bullying to me but I can see how making religion seem 'uncool' might make some teenagers think a bit more about it. What I'm not sure is how you make religion seem uncool.
You mean religion is 'cool' at the moment? :puzzled:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

para handy
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#3 Post by para handy » October 7th, 2008, 2:27 pm

Well Christianity seems to be cool with many young Americans and Islam is cool with many young Brits.

Firebrand
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#4 Post by Firebrand » October 7th, 2008, 9:36 pm

I don't think there's anything wrong with poking fun at religion as we do in the Comedy Club and I have no objection to people poking fun at my beliefs or opinions or lifestyle even if I don't find it funny when they do. That's freedom of speech and I would always defend that. But I don't ridicule people to their faces because I try to be considerate of their feelings and also because I don't think it's likely to change their minds about anything.
Arm yourself: Learn to counter the arguments they're going to use defending their beliefs. Insist they can't quote from a book riddled with errors. Learn the history of preceding religions, and you can easily show theirs is just another copycat, Pagan and Egyptian-based sun/death worship cult.
This much I agree with. I would rather counter irrational views with sensible arguments.

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Alan C.
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#5 Post by Alan C. » October 7th, 2008, 10:24 pm

Ridiculing religion is one of my hobbies, but I agree with Firebrand.
But I don't ridicule people to their faces because I try to be considerate of their feelings
I don't ridicule the people, just their beliefs.
One of our group that goes bowling every Sunday night was missing last week, when I asked her husband where she was he said (scornfully) "she's at the kirk for the harvest festival" When she turned up this Sunday (for the bowls) I told her that in future, she should get her priorities right, and spend the evening with real friends, rather than imaginary ones.
We're still good friends and neighbors though :smile:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#6 Post by Alan H » October 7th, 2008, 11:40 pm

Alan C. wrote:I don't ridicule the people, just their beliefs.
That's difficult sometimes. Even if we can see a clear divide between the person and their belief, it must seem to many devout believers, who see their beliefs as an integral part of them and without which they would not be a whole person, that it is a personal attack. How can we avoid that trap?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#7 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » October 8th, 2008, 12:07 am

Alan H wrote:
Alan C. wrote:I don't ridicule the people, just their beliefs.
That's difficult sometimes. Even if we can see a clear divide between the person and their belief, it must seem to many devout believers, who see their beliefs as an integral part of them and without which they would not be a whole person, that it is a personal attack. How can we avoid that trap?

Alan,
I think that, in a way, you have answered your own question. We can separate respect for persons from respect for beliefs; the people you have in mind cannot ( or will not, for the time being), but we can help them to understand the difference. All that is needed— and it should be enough— is a willingness to discuss the matter.
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

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jaywhat
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#8 Post by jaywhat » October 8th, 2008, 6:39 am

.. or talk about something else.

lukanator
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#9 Post by lukanator » October 28th, 2008, 10:54 am

If religion is treated like the War on Drugs, that will only make kids want more of it. It's like live action role play, it stimulates the same part of the brain I think.

Ridicule is a treat to be enjoyed in the company of the like-minded, and it serves no useful purpose when shared with the subject of ridicule. People always talk about one another, that will never change.

PriestofPoppycock
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#10 Post by PriestofPoppycock » October 31st, 2008, 8:23 pm

Ridiculing a person in such a way would only illicit strong emotions and thus hamper her or his ability to reason and think rationally. Certainly we should oppose illogical beliefs, but we do not have to be rude or hateful. Doing so will only continue to reinforce stereotypes about atheists and other non-religious people. That is not to say we should never be passionate about our own views, however, even at the risk of offending others.

James

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xman
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#11 Post by xman » November 1st, 2008, 6:25 am

Why not ridicule the ridiculous? Sure they have the right to say what they like about their faith and we shouldn't start stoning them or telling them they can't talk about their faith, but I will openly engage anyone who tries to argue the logic behind their belief because there isn't any and people, the bystanders to such an argument, should know the difference between a faith based on someone's idea of common sense and the real world based on observable facts. I have often said that the only reasonable position for the faithful to take is to admit that their gods make no sense, but they choose to believe anyway.

X
Always remember, it's your right to have a SUPER day.
If you're wrong, call me ... I'll have one for you!

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Ninny
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#12 Post by Ninny » November 1st, 2008, 3:25 pm

I feel duty-bound to point the finger of scorn - but rarely do, as I am a coward :sad:

peterangus
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#13 Post by peterangus » November 1st, 2008, 8:12 pm

Well-founded ridicule may fail to influence your debating oponent, but it may make a profound impression on an audience.
Peter Angus

Lucretius
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#14 Post by Lucretius » November 1st, 2008, 9:13 pm

Just don't call up and harass a 78 year old man.
"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken

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Ninny
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#15 Post by Ninny » November 2nd, 2008, 9:20 am

Lucretius wrote:Just don't call up and harass a 78 year old man.
Just don't harrass anyone!

Dan
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Joined: November 26th, 2007, 5:05 pm

Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#16 Post by Dan » November 17th, 2008, 9:46 pm

Ninny wrote:
Lucretius wrote:Just don't call up and harass a 78 year old man.
Just don't harrass anyone!
Even if they're the Pope? Why can't I ridicule a Pope to his face?

Religion is in a position of power, I don't see why the weapons of ridicule and satire cannot be aimed at it just as they would be aimed at any powerful ideology.

Harassment and bullying of individuals are unethical, but ridicule need not be either.

The question isn't "should freethinkers ridicule religion", because some people may not be comfortable doing it. It's not compulsory. The question is, really, "should religion enjoy immunity from ridicule?" And the answer to that, of course, is no.

Otherwise you're playing into the hands of those extremists who insist - contrary to the results of surveys on the question - that religion is specially significant in the lives of all religious people and is a crucial and uniquely sensitive part of their identity. Actually, for most religious people, it's not.

Dan

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Bellman
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Re: Should freethinkers ridicule religion?

#17 Post by Bellman » December 11th, 2008, 6:41 am

In my experience of discussions with religious friends it makes no difference whether you debate sympathetically, calmly and logically or blast them with withering but elegant scorn. Faith is proof against anything from persuasion to ridicule. A particularly stubborn chap I know claims to be both an agnostic and a theist at the same time. His response to my arguments is to say that my lack of belief derives from faith! The faithful can both run and hide. :headbang:

When they stand their ground their defences are so impregnable that, surprisingly, most remain friends, though a Born Again Christian has at last taken me off her Christmas card list. I'm sending them all copies of The Freethinker this year instead of cards but nothing will come between them and the manger.

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