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Austin Cline

Discussion: Insulting a Person vs. Insulting a Religion

By February 24, 2006

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A forum member writes: Sometimes if I criticize someone's belief system and they think I'm ridiculing them, they will get offended. This is normal but what I find strange is that they think it's okay to insult them (and will actually invite it) but not their faith. Because somehow, their religion has feelings and will be hurt or embarrassed. They are actually offended on behalf of their religion or deity. Likewise they will insult me for being stupid, evil, and selfish for being an atheist, and act confused if I get offended. What gives?

This is a curious reaction, isn't it? One would expect a person to get upset if you insulted them - that would be only natural. Insulting an ideology or belief system, however, should be entirely legitimate and acceptable. After all, beliefs don't deserve the same automatic respect that people do, right? Read More...

Comments
July 7, 2013 at 3:10 am
(1) Kha says:

If you’re insulting someone’s beliefs, I think it is wise to remember that you probably don’t enjoy having your non-beliefs (or worldview/ethics/moral compass) insulted. It’s in poor taste. It doesn’t show anyone anything, except that you are unable to accept that there are different people and beliefs and cultures in the world.

I would say that this is an area where most people hope that they can agree to disagree, but often find that they cannot.

At any rate, it’s rude and tasteless to necessarily incite an argument with someone when you know it will only produce hurt feelings and bruised egos. If the other (religious) person attempts to engage you in a shitting contest over who is right, I’d remember this gem: an argument (here meaning: discourse, discussion; etc) can not be won be inciting a deity BUT ALSO can not be won by claiming that one doesn’t exist. (Because God and because not god aren’t valid arguments, respectively). Why? Because it is based on belief or ‘a leap of faith.’ If you do not partake of it, why bother asking about it?

It is no one’s job to convince you one way or the other. If you are genuinely interested in why someone believes a thing, I would ask about that. But to make fun of someone’s beliefs to/around them? Bad form.

July 14, 2013 at 12:46 am
(2) Sally says:

Oh, pip pip, old chap … bad form, what?

If your beliefs constrain my rights (e.g, to be gay, to have an abortion if Iím raped, to dress and act with the same freedom as a man would have in any given situation), then they deserve not only insult, mockery and derision, but flushing down the Giant Toilet of History.

July 25, 2013 at 6:20 am
(3) Grandpa In The East says:

“Oh, pip pip, old chap Ö bad form, what?”

Well said, Sally.

What one believes influences the decisions one makes in life. And those decisions effect everyone around him/her and ripple outward.

Kha says, “At any rate, itís rude and tasteless to necessarily incite an argument with someone when you know it will only produce hurt feelings and bruised egos.”

Excuse me, but I think it is much nicer than burning them at the stake, chopping off their heads, stoning them to death or simple ethnic cleansing-which still goes on in our time.

However, the only arguments I have are on line and I’m sorry if that disturbs the likes of Kha. And of course, if “religious ideas are worth having, it wouldn’t be NECESSARY to plant them in young, yet undeveloped, minds. Now would it, Kha?

Grandpa

September 10, 2013 at 8:45 am
(4) edwapa says:

kha–”(Because God and because not god arenít valid arguments, respectively). Why? Because it is based on belief or Ďa leap of faith.í ”

Personally I believe in “not god” not because of “a leap of faith (or leap of no faith)” but because of the exact opposite-a leap of no evidence. It doesn’t take faith to not believe in something when evidence does not exist for that something.

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