Sometimes I feel like I spend more time arguing about religion than they do at the seminars. Today was no different, and it is the usual argument that ‘Jesus did no say that’ in response to some homophobic utterance. The numbers are in, and the majority of Christians do think that Jesus said that, and the majority gets to decide which truth is true.
Intolerance is a funny word because when it comes to Christians it has become a sign of intolerance to say that what they believe in is false. In fact, some people want that to be a sign of persecution of religious people.
Just go to the Daily Mail when they’re morally outraged about the catastrophic fall of Christianity in this country. Between the lines you read that the loss of status and power of Christianity is a means of persecution. Being secular is being intolerant to religion. The empty pews in the churches across this nation, and the grey hair of those that do visit the places, is a sign of secular repression.
I have always adhered to the Philip Plait rule in these things. It’s a simple rule: Don’t be a dick. It is far easier to get the point across and make people think if you’re reasonable and somewhat polite about it. But reasonableness and politeness has nothing to do with shutting up about ones convictions. I will not compromise in my convictions that Christianity is an illogical, unlikely, and complete mess.
Even the Christians think that, although they call that state ‘interpretative theology’ in that they don’t actually believe in the literal dogma of the bible. They claim it was written by men, and all that. They must say that because the Bible is clearly wrong in so many little ways. Therefore the Christians, in order to maintain faith, must abstract the Bible so that it is only a parable.
When doing so, they undermine their faith fatally, because if it is not true in the literal sense, how can you make an argument that it is true in the wider sense? You can’t. So people merely believe, without proof, because their parents taught them to do so. Their intellectual probing of the religion is about finding a cause to believe, rather than to find the objective truth.
Pointing out that this is silly is not an example of intolerance because all data is not equal. Some data is false, and it is entirely appropriate to point this out. The believers in the false data does not get special protection from being proven wrong.