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Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:52 am
by clw_uk
A post on another thread got me thinking.


Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:44 am
by Kim OHara
I am not sure that the assumption embedded in your question is correct. Which societies are your "most societies" ?

:coffee:
Kim

[edited for clarity]

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:01 pm
by BubbaBuddhist
If you do it in America, you're labelled a bigot. There is an old saying that there are three things you don't discuss: a person's children, politics and religion. Until fairly recently, you could have added a person's sexual orientation. Here in the south I've seen fistfights break out over religion. Years ago Richard Dawkins almost got mob lynched when he came to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (my home town) to debate evolution vs. creationism. And I'm not speaking metaphorically. Security was barely sufficient to get him to his car. I still wonder if to this day if he knows just how close he came to being strung up like a pinata?

BB

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:07 pm
by Sam Vara
I'm not sure that this is the case at all; it all depends on the society, and the nature and setting of the criticism. Some political questions have been off limits in many societies - questions concerning the desirability of communism in the former Soviet Union, for example, or the validity of particular nation-states, were not for the faint-hearted. Conversely, there are settings where any form of religion is openly reviled, especially on the internet. (The "Belief" section of the Guardian "Comment is Free" website
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief
is interesting in this respect. "The world's leading liberal voice", indeed...)

In so far as religion is more taboo in certain settings than politics, it is probably because political questions are discussed within certain social conventions which are grounded in discourse and "nondecision-making". People can argue and ridicule because they know the limits, and the rules which define them. In the case of religions, however, differences are often manifested when we confront unknown cultures, and we are not familiar with the terms of engagement. We know how opponents are likely to react when we ridicule the appearance of their party leader, but have no idea whether we can similarly ridicule (say) the prophet Mani or the local god-man.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:55 pm
by Jhana4
clw_uk wrote:A post on another thread got me thinking.


Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?
Discussing politics gets the same kind of stigma in a number of situations. For example, speaking out against McCarthyism in the 50s. Bill Maher losing his show after 9/11 for quibbling as to whether or not the terrorists were cowards. I think it comes down to how threatening people find the conversation. After an attack on their country, talking about changes that effect someone's fiances, etc are all discussions that will get you labeled as a social skunk, as would criticizing religion in certain places.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:00 pm
by Samma
Speaking from a history of ideas standpoint, I think it may have something to do with the realization since Pascal that religion is not so much a matter of reason, it is something to take on faith. So why bother discussing it when it typically goes nowhere and can easily make people angry?

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:31 pm
by Modus.Ponens
Because religion is much more important to most people than politics. That's the first reason. The second reason might be that criticizing a certain religion is reason to fear for one's life. If it wasn't for this case in particular, criticism of religion would be a much more natural activity _ although another reason is even more powerful, which I interpret to be the mental defense mechanism of reactive formation in most left wing people.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:27 pm
by Jhana4
Modus.Ponens wrote:Because religion is much more important to most people than politics.
I think you will find a large portion of the human population of planet Earth disagree with you. Religion and politics supply people with their needs and desires. Politics is all about who gets what, somethng that goes to the core of human nature.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:33 pm
by clw_uk
Samma wrote:Speaking from a history of ideas standpoint, I think it may have something to do with the realization since Pascal that religion is not so much a matter of reason, it is something to take on faith. So why bother discussing it when it typically goes nowhere and can easily make people angry?

Same reason why I would try and persuade someone that sacrificing a goat won't lead to happiness

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:45 pm
by clw_uk
Kim OHara wrote:I am not sure that the assumption embedded in your question is correct. Which societies are your "most societies" ?

:coffee:
Kim

[edited for clarity]

Theocratic societies and societies where traditional values, I.e. religion are upheld and criticism thereof looked down upon. Also the political correctness that is creeping into the west, at least in the U.K., where you have to be careful what you say about a persons religion, otherwise you are intolerant, say of Christians, or "racist" in the case of Jews and Muslims.


For example if I criticise Islam I can be labelled "Islamaphobic" or "racist" as If a criticism of an ideology was an attack on an ethnic group.

So if I say that I think that Jesus was insane, or that Mohammad was an ignorant con-artist, or delusional, I can be labelled intolerant or racist.

I hope I don't have to show the illogical fallacy lurking there.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:01 am
by SarathW
Hi Clw
Is that because religion is more subjective and the politics are more objective?
:shrug:

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:37 am
by clw_uk
SarathW wrote:Hi Clw
Is that because religion is more subjective and the politics are more objective?
:shrug:

Well everything seems to be subjective/emotive.

You cant seem to prove with certainty that anything is objectively true, not even Buddhism.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:21 am
by chownah
clw_uk wrote:A post on another thread got me thinking.


Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?
Could it be that religion reveals ultimate reality and politics reveals conventional reality? Where is tiltbillings anyway?
:tongue:
chownah

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:24 am
by clw_uk
chownah wrote:
clw_uk wrote:A post on another thread got me thinking.


Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?
Could it be that religion reveals ultimate reality and politics reveals conventional reality? Where is tiltbillings anyway?
:tongue:
chownah

And how do you distinguish?

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:25 am
by clw_uk
chownah wrote:
clw_uk wrote:A post on another thread got me thinking.


Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?
Could it be that religion reveals ultimate reality and politics reveals conventional reality? Where is tiltbillings anyway?
:tongue:
chownah

No idea lol

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:30 am
by tiltbillings
chownah wrote:
clw_uk wrote:A post on another thread got me thinking.


Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?
Could it be that religion reveals ultimate reality and politics reveals conventional reality? Where is tiltbillings anyway?
:tongue:
chownah
I am assuming you are trying, again, to be funny here.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:46 am
by clw_uk
tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:
clw_uk wrote:A post on another thread got me thinking.


Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?
Could it be that religion reveals ultimate reality and politics reveals conventional reality? Where is tiltbillings anyway?
:tongue:
chownah
I am assuming you are trying, again, to be funny here.

I thought it was a jovial comment :smile:

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:19 am
by tiltbillings
clw_uk wrote:

I thought it was a jovial comment :smile:
Jovial? At best mildly amusing, but whatever the case, a bit snotty.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:27 am
by Ajisai
clw_uk wrote: Why is it considered taboo to openly criticise another persons religion in most societies but yet perfectly ok to criticise a persons political convictions?
It really depends on the culture you live in. In France for example, three main topics are supposed to be avoided when having lunch with other people: religion, politics, and money (it's impolite to talk about how much you earn or how much you paid for your car for example).
Of course things are slightly different when you talk with close family members or close friends.

Re: Religious criticism

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:44 pm
by kc2dpt
Here in the US, politics is, as always has been, something we try to convince each other. Debates, town square meetings, advertisements. I don't see anything odd about people discussing and debating and arguing about what is the right way to govern. The whole point of a democracy is government by the people; the people can't govern if they can't discuss. US government is founded on the idea of people feeling free to talk about it.

Religion in the US is founded on the idea of escaping persecution, the idea that people would be free to practice how they want without interference. So there is no place for debate or discussion, except perhaps amongst close friends. I would find it very rude if you came up to me out of the blue and tried to argue with me that my religious practices were wrong.

And yes, theoretically at least, we debate political ideas because we can look at what we've done and look at the results and try to learn from that. But arguing over what happens after we die (the main topic of most religions) is kinda pointless since we have no data to argue over.