“Do not fear, from now on you will be fishers of men.” When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
WARNING: the following is very long, but if you are a Christian or are interested in quote-un-quote religion generally, you will find the whole thing quite interesting. And frustrating.
In this week’s Tech News (not updated since last March) did a fine job covering the news, such as they found: WPI Students Assaulted Early Friday Morning; State of the Union: Same-Sex Marriage; From Learning to Learning: Disparity in Sino-American Learning Styles. Not thrilling, but not inflammatory. They save that for the Opinion section article titled “Extreme Religion: Blind Faith to Hate.” That article, quite frankly, pissed me off. Three full columns – the whole page – devoted to a poorly-reasoned, innaccurately “researched,” and a terrible piece of writing. Let me give you some indicative excerpts:
“I think it’d be safe to say that we live in a very secular age; one that is not dominated by religion, at least not like it used to be during the 1500-1700’s. That is not to say that there aren’t people in this world who are devout in their religion and unwavering in their worship. Just ask anyone who is willing to strap a bomb to themselves in order to blow up innocent people what their motivation is. Or anyone who plans to hijack a plane so that they can slam it into a building what drives them. Or ask anyone holding up an anti-gay marriage or anti-abortion sign what makes them think the way they do.”
Response: Painting with a mighty wide brush here, aren’t we? Does every suicide bomber do so because of religion? What about Palestinian bombers using their suicides for political means? Or what about people who think that gay marriage is harmful to children raised in those families? Or that other alternatives to abortion are better for the mother emotionally, and that sparing a child’s life is crucial?
“Let’s get down to the basics of religion. Every organized religion in the world essentially teaches the exact same thing: to be a good individual and to continually improve yourself. …So in theory, religion is good and serves to help humanity further evolve and advance. However, in practice, it always seems like humans have had this peculiar habit of corrupting religion over the centuries. Case in point: the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the persecution of the Puritans and Quakers and other religious groups in England, the Salem Witch Trials, the Holocaust etc.”
Response: Every organized religion teaches the same thing? Perhaps we need a refresher in organized religion, pal. Try arguing Buddhism and Mormonism seek the same goals (who wouldn’t want a planet of their own populated with their own offspring? Isn’t that a definition of nirvana?) And what do the Salem witch trials have to do with religion? Or the Holocaust – yes, they were Jewish, but they were ethnic Jews persecuted by a radical political group.
“Even though for the most part, this is a secular age we live in, there are still those who would use religion to encroach upon everyone else.”
Response: Those evil religious people, sneakily encroaching!
“Grow up, Osama, you’re acting more like a spoiled little rich kid than a terrorist.”
Response: ?? Introduce me to those terrorist-networking rich kids!
“You want to know why people are against gay marriage? It’s because they read somewhere in the Bible that it’s wrong and immoral so of course it has to be true. After all, the Bible is the final authority on everything. And if you believe that, I have a bridge in China to sell you. Personally speaking, I have read the Bible in its entirety; not the King James Version but the original version translated from Latini. How many other people can say that? I would be curious to know how many people who claim to be good Christians actually sat down and read the good book of Christ when they weren’t in Church. For those of you who have, you would know that the Bible is fraught with so many contradictions and just plain stupid ideals.”
Response: The Bible wasn’t originally written in Latin. It was Hebrew and Greek, thanks. The Latin version isn’t even considered the best translation, since there have been some big breakthroughs since they translated it into Latin. ‘The good book of Christ’? Get it right. The Good Book or the Word of God. And please, since when have we all claimed the Bible is strictly factually accurate?
“The fact is, other than the Bible, nobody has any concrete proof that homosexuality is wrong.”
Response: What other moral claims can be “proven”?
“The fact is, when I see anti-gay protesters with their signs, most of they can barely hold them up for long periods of time due to exhaustion because they’re so old. Thankfully, once they die off, they will take with them their bigoted mentality.”
Response: Yes, I can’t wait until all those annoying old people die off! They’re just a drag on society, really.
“That’s why I hate people who are holier-than-thou and use religion as a means to justify everything they do in their lives. People who are so absurdly devoted to religion have serious issues and are for the most part, crazy. You need proof? Ask anyone against abortion and/or gay marriage what the reasoning behind their thinking is. You’ll be quite shocked to hear their response.”
Response: Again, a broad brush—“anyone” against abortion and gay marriage will give you a shocking bigoted religious response? I doubt it. Many religious people are also very deep thinkers, unlike some writers.
“While I respect other people’s opinions…it has been my experience that thhose who believe so much in their religious convictions are willing to go to any lengths to do anything in order to enforce their way of thinking onto the rest of us.”
Response: Since when have you begun respecting other peoples’ opinions? I sure don’t see it anywhere before, considering you’ve just spent the last two columns completely bashing religion based on incorrect and idiotic stereotypes.
“In the end, it all boils down to tolerance. Are you going to use religion to hate or are you going to use it to be tolerant?”
Response: Do I even need to field this one? Read everything prior to this and think, “Is this person tolerant?” There’s your answer.
Ahhh. I feel better now.
– KF –