A Rant on Religion and Reindeer

Standard

(Heck yeah, alliteration.)

Oh, religion. It’s such a funny thing.

I don’t like it very much.

Because here’s the thing: religion doesn’t save you. Religion doesn’t make you a good person. I’ve met Muslims who displayed the love of Jesus better than some Christians. I’ve been snubbed and disdained by Jewish people because of my belief in Jesus as the Messiah, only to be welcomed with love and acceptance by atheists.

I took a Diversity in American Literature class during the last semester of my undergrad. We talked all semester long about the danger and pointlessness of ethnocentrism: the belief that one’s culture is better than anyone else’s. As a culture, we frown at racism, sexism, and classism, but we don’t hesitate to damn each other to hell if our religious beliefs differ.

Do I have certain aspects of my belief system that I follow? Absolutely. I didn’t create this post to talk about those points. (Believe me, it’d take more than a post. I’m kind of complicated.) It’s also not to talk about salvation issues. This post is (going to attempt) to point out how stupid it is to mock other people because of their belief system.

I’ve never understood hating or mocking someone because of what they believe. I can disagree with someone (strongly!) and still be able to have an open, respectful conversation. I’m always blindsided when I overhear rants about stupid Christians and their barbaric belief in human sacrificing. I don’t understand telling atheists or Muslims or Catholics that they’re going to go to hell for their beliefs. It doesn’t solve anything. It just further alienates one human being from another.

I recently read a book in which two characters were talking about the discord between Palestinians and Israelis. “Why so much hate between relatives?” one questions.

“It’s because we haven’t learned much from the prophets and hardly anything about the rules of life,” the other responds.

“Then what’s to be done?”

“Give God back His freedom. He’s been hostage to our bigotries too long.”

Here’s the deal:

I’ll respect someone’s views as an atheist.

I won’t respect the fact that he/she shames, berates, and mocks people who do believe in God.

I’ll respect someone’s views as a Christian.

I won’t respect the fact that he/she self-righteously condemns other non-Christians, going against everything Jesus stood for.

I’ll respect someone’s views as an _______ (fill in the blank with any religion)

I won’t respect the fact that he/she supports extremist ideas or beliefs that injure themselves and other people, or views certain individuals as lower than others.

I’ll respect reindeers.

I won’t respect the fact that they bully and exclude another reindeer simply because of his red, shiny nose.

It’s as simple as that.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “A Rant on Religion and Reindeer

  1. Oh, and it’s probably worth adding that a person’s right to believe whatever they want must be respected. It is a fundamental and basic human right that must be protected at all cost. However, a belief by itself, whatever it may be, cannot and should not be respected by default, lest it causes harm and hurts well-being. Only beliefs that withstand criticism and scrutiny (a baptism of fire, if you will) can really be said to be worthy of belief. Criticism, therefore, in all it’s forms–yes, sometimes that includes ridicule–is *necessary*. That’s my view, at least, and I expect that to be apply to myself, for I want believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible..

    Like

    • I definitely don’t agree with every belief system and I agree that not all of them should be applauded. (Female circumcision in Africa? *shudder*) That being said, however, I think it’s an unspeakable horror that Mariam Ibrahim is currently chained to the floor of a jail in Sudan with her two-year-old son and newborn daughter, simply because she’s a Christian. It’s good to be respectful of different viewpoints but not tolerant of ones that cause others harm, which I guess is why I put those stipulations at the end 😉
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Like

      • Hi,

        I think we’re kind of saying the same thing.

        I agree, we should not tolerate that which causes harm, and if said harm is the result of a particular belief, then the belief itself cannot be tolerated, and by extension it cannot be respected. Likewise, We cannot respect a person who acts on a harmful belief. We can only respect the person’s right to believe it, and do our best to change the belief. Beliefs such as these must be identified, critiqued, and condemned if necessary (including our own beliefs). We can tolerate different viewpoints only to the degree that they do not cause harm, but intolerance should never lead to a greater harm.

        Now, I hold that beliefs do not deserve respect by default. If we do this, we will necessarily respect beliefs that are in conflict and harmful. A belief must be proven to be worthy of respect (it carries a burden of proof, if you will).

        We must be tolerant of people with different viewpoints and that cause no harm, absolutely. The problem, of course, is how to quantify well-being and harm objectively. Here, in my view, we should look to science, philosophy, and history to guide us.

        Islam’s apostasy beliefs and laws (as well as female circumcision) are despicable and excellent examples of a harmful beliefs that cannot be tolerated.

        Regards,
        Jaco

        Like

      • We’re definitely on the same page! I don’t fully rely on science, however….I look to God for answers and wisdom. I like your point about reviewing (and, if necessary,) changing our own beliefs. It’s something I think people should do a lot more often.
        Great discussion!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s