Perhaps Hitchens was right.
I’m not really gonna have too much to say in this post. I mostly just want to share a couple of articles. I really think everyone needs to read them and think hard about this issue. If you’re feeling lazy, forget what I’m writing, just read these articles at the very least.
The first is the original article, and the second one is a follow-up.
For me, reading these articles really brings to light the special, privileged status that religion enjoys in this world. It is usually not considered that big of a deal in the social setting, but when religious people become so fearful of having their beliefs questioned that they have to resort to hijacking the government for institutional invincibility, it just becomes sickening and pathetically sad.
Seriously. What kind of “faith” do you have if you don’t have any confidence at all that your beliefs can stand up to rational inquiry? If you’re beliefs are true, then put them out there and show them be true. But I don’t see any believers actually doing that. All I see is people complaining about how the “New Atheists” are so strident and arrogant and rude. And that is just simply false. They doing exactly what anybody would do with any other subject. Just because the story of Jesus in a manger tugs at your heart-strings more than quantum physics does not mean that we have to address the issues of religion and science differently. All claims of any kind should be subject to investigation and critical scrutiny. And the ones that don’t stand up and match the evidence should be discarded.
If some physicist or economist or doctor were to be making ridiculous claims that had no good evidence to back them up, we would question the hell out of em. But somehow when religious people make outrageous claims, we’re supposed to sit back and applaud their faith? We’re supposed to keep quiet while they continue to spread hate and ignorance? Are we supposed to tolerate the violence done in the name of religion every single day? That seems to be exactly what they are asking of us. That is why I’m not only opposed to the institutional protection of religion, but I also don’t think anyone has the right to ask someone to not speak ill of their religion in social settings. You don’ t have the right to not be offended!
I’m finding myself going off on all sorts of tangents here, so I’m gonna end with one last thought. You have the right to think whatever you want to think, and believe whatever makes you happy. But you aren’t allowed to force everyone else to accept your beliefs and act as if they are “above” criticism. To quote the great Ted Mosby, paraphrasing Descartes: “In order to determine whether or not we know anything, we must first question everything we know.”
If you wanna believe something, that’s great. Go ahead. But if you want to bring that belief into the public sphere, then you’ve submitted it for review by the entire world. If you believe things without proper justification, then you’re wasting the greatest resource that we as humans have: our ability to reason. If you’re not reasoning your way through your beliefs, then your beliefs aren’t worth much, and don’t deserve any special respect. I respect the views of scientists and philosophers and other great thinkers because they’ve dedicated their lives to reasoning their way through things to arrive at the truth. If all you can do is go with what everyone else thinks is true or accept a given worldview on blind faith alone, then your opinion isn’t really worth any respect at all.