The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Few Thoughts On Religion

There are a number of people (a quite large number, I'm sure) who think an atheist cannot have anything of value to say about religion, that atheists want to impede it or tear it down. And, in part, I would agree... mostly that atheists are perceived as the enemy of religion. Some of us who profess to be atheist are enemies of religion. I will try to explain why I do not consider them atheist but "anti-theist" and what that means.

An anti-theist wants to undermine theism (religion), he is as intolerant as any member of IS but without (so far) the beheadings and murders. He finds offense in the mere mention of a god, such as "In God we trust" or "One nation, under God." He will bring suit after suit (or just support them) to remove mention of a deity from public view. He is often found ridiculing those who believe. He is not well-liked outside of his circle of like-minded friends and seemingly revels in that dislike.

I do not understand the mindset of such a person. He is not only un-persuasive, he is counter-productive. He does not realize that he is not only acknowledging religious belief but empowering it. Think about the concept of reverse psychology. Telling people not to do something often has the opposite effect, making them want to do it. Telling your teen-aged daughter not to continue dating that hoodlum, for example, often just makes him more attractive to her.

I have observed that people rarely choose a religion of their of their own free will but tend to follow the religion of their parents. That is quite understandable. You will be more comfortable with the familiar than the unfamiliar. It is the primary way religions grow in size. Oh, children often go through rebellious periods but not all and that daughter I mentioned will eventually dump the creep you don't like (often in favor of another creep you don't like) for one you do like or learn to like. Likewise, people who stray from their parents' religion usually return to it.

I think of my sister when I consider such things as religious preference. She wanted to become Catholic but never mentioned this to me until she was on her fourth marriage (one might say, "a bit late"). To understand why, I need to explain about my father and mother. My mother was raised Catholic, her family was Catholic, and when she and my father wanted to marry she dragged him off to see the priest to get permission to marry in the Church. My father refused to convert and refused to promise to raise any children as Catholic. The priest told my mother not to marry him and threatened excommunication if she did. My mother married him anyway and walked away from the Catholic Church. We (my family) think of it as a beautiful love story and I think it was behind my sister's Catholic desire. I am also fairly sure that it had an influence on my becoming atheist.

My mother adopted my father's Protestant faith and remained religious throughout her life. My father was somewhat religious but, being cynical, was opposed to organized religion. I never saw him go to church. I was, however, sent to Sunday School each week. When I "graduated" from that, I realized only my mother, sister, and brother attended church while my father remained at home and stopped attending myself. I think I only attended church once (the Sunday after "graduating" from Sunday School) but it is quite possible that's a false memory.

What I learned over the years was to respect other's religions. The neighborhoods I grew up in were religiously quite diverse, consisting of Catholic, Protestant (Methodist for the most part), and Jewish families. I absorbed some knowledge of these religions from my friends. Later, I tried to learn about other religions on my own. Being "outside" of religion allowed me a more objective perspective on the subject, I believe, and a more tolerant attitude toward religious belief.


Tom Sightings said...

If only everyone was like you -- tolerant of other peoples religious beliefs -- the world would be a better place.

Douglas said...

Tom, about the only thing I am intolerant of is... intolerance. It's the only thing I retained from my "liberal" period.

Tom Sightings said...

Well, Douglas, some of my best friends are liberals. But I don't find that they are any more tolerant than the rest of us -- and often less so.

Douglas said...

I found the same thing and that is why I no longer think much of liberalism.