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Featured Does Religion Bashing Serve Any Useful Purpose?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, May 18, 2018.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Good point! Although in practice, if one does not see something positive or redeeming in something as huge and complex as a whole religion, then most likely one doesn't know much about it.
     
  2. Enlil

    Enlil Allah's servant

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    Maybe.
     
  3. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

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    It was Zeinab Badawi, who was (some might say "unfortunately") paired with Ann Widdecombe. I think your observation would fit them accurately, so perhaps it's him you're thinking of.
     
  4. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Any opposition to a religion helps in one regard: it lets people know that there’s a diversity of views.

    People often have a tendency to assume that others agree with them until they have reason to think otherwise. I think this is behind the stereotype of the “angry atheist:” many people just assume that a pleasant, quiet person must be religious like them, so the only atheists they acknowledge are the loud ones.

    Expressing disagreement - tactfully or not, fairly or not, logically laid out or not - will send the message that you disagree. This can be useful by itself. If enough people do it, it can make the person realize that their position isn’t as popular as they thought.

    Expressing disagreement forcefully in a way that makes your offended clear communicates to the person that at least some people consider their beliefs offensive. If enough people do it, then it’s harder for those objectors to all be dismissed as cranks.

    Sometimes this is enough. If a person’s religion tells them, say, that they’re messengers of truth that the Holy Spirit will use to communicate the Good News, then failure to convert people could undermine their faith by itself. If enough people flip the bird at the protestors picketing the hospital with photos of dismembered fetuses, maybe some of the more thoughtful protestors will ask themselves “what is it about my message that people find so offensive?”

    Yes, there are other ways that a person can interpret disagreement and offense, and many of them end up reinforcing the person’s faith, but that’s not the only goal.

    If we can get people from a harmful religion to say to themselves “this town is beyond hope - let’s not even try to proselytize here” or “we know that elected official won’t be sympathetic to us, so let’s not even try to lobby him,” then those are wins, too.

    I have nothing at all against convincing adherents to abandon a harmful religion - if you can do it, go for it. But it’s also a perfectly valid strategy to try to just contain the harm of a harmful religion, and the tactics for that strategy don’t always involve changing the minds of the adherents.
     
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  5. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    Probably not, though exactly as little as “bashing” anything other general concept, philosophy or institution does. Why does religion get a special mention? You might suggest how common it is but I’m not convinced it’s any more common that “bashing” on grounds like politics, race or nationality.
     
  6. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    Honestly I think bashing political stances causing doubling down on both sides is part of the equation of how the US got so toxically bipartisan. As in, the bashing had a net negative effect on the country's political climate.
     
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  7. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    As an aside, Recreational Outrage would be a great band name.
     
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  8. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    Yeah, I just ignore them (religions) in the hope they will all just go away. Sweet Dreams are made of this.

     
  9. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    Perhaps, but it's all down to the benefits and deficits - and where some of us go for the latter overall. :oops: History will tell.
     
    #29 Mock Turtle, May 18, 2018
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  10. idav

    idav Being
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    Yup constructive criticism is useful as opposed to just plain bashing which more like bullying.
     
  11. Apologes

    Apologes Active Member

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    Of course it does...

    A one-sided, biased and hostile presentation of opposing views will go along way in establishing one's reputation in an echo-chamber of equally biased and petty people whose attention one may be craving. It is also useful for manipulating and "de-coverting" other people who may hold said view, but happen to know very little about it. Not to mention how the masses love style over substance so the militant critique that consists of witty quips instead of valid points will be appreciated a lot more than a long, detailed, objective analysis of the issue at hand.

    The real question is does such behavior accomplish anything intellectually honest and praiseworthy? The answer to that is clear, resounding no.
     
  12. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    Part of the problem I see is intrinsically linking harm to the religion and not to specific ideologies within the group leading to a sort of stereotype fatigue that makes even the moderates less so because they're recoiling from non constructive criticism.
    I.e. The assertion that Christianity is a 'harmful religion' because of its treatment of LGBT, even though support for LGBT is present in large, even majority quantities.
     
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  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I don't consider Christianity to be a single unified group. I think different groups within Christianity - and sometimes even within denominations - have varying degrees of net harm or net benefit.

    That being said, within an organizational unit, we can take the whole unit as its own entity for many purposes. For instance, even though I know many Catholics or Mormons who look favourably on LGBT people - or may even be LGBT themselves - their tithes still help to pay for a church leadership that acts on LGBT issues in harmful ways.

    But what I was getting at are things like this:

    L.G.B.T. Students in Oregon Were Bullied and Forced to Read Bible, Report Says

    If we can get those school officials to say to themselves "my views on homosexuality aren't widely shared and aren't held in high regard, so I stand a good chance of losing my job if I bully this LGBT kid - I'd better protect my job and lay off him," I consider that a win... even if an even better win would be to convince him to abandon the religion than underpins his anti-LGBT views.
     
  14. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    I agree.....
    people knee jerk to defend their beliefs

    now me.....
    I'm out an a limb
    I have no religion
    but people tell me to go to hell

    a lot....
     
  15. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    Yep, I agree with that.
     
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  16. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Often it's more a masturbatory exercise of self-congratulation, especially regarding one's own sense of rationality.

    Ironically, most religion bashers are pretty credulous when it comes to the classic anti-religion myths.
     
  17. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Interesting.

    I think this data is spot on.

    I also think the unintended consequence is it's also brought a rise to sloppy atheist in the same fashion that atheist of the past were picking apart your run of the mill theist of mostly the Christian flavor. Which is precisely why in my estimation people don't go full hog and land somewhere in the middle like mysticism or a quasi-theist version of sorts. The rise has been in spirituality and being at the very least open to not necessarily a god, but something affecting (I suppose you can say in a supernatural way here) the universal psyche of many that no science can explain. The goal of course is that some day it will be able to explain it in a purely natural way, but it's one of those things that the more we learn, the more we understand how complex it really is.
     
  18. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    It's very easy to dismiss large numbers of people as cranks as it's not really a numbers game if you find their views ridiculous. Would numbers make you change your view on YECs for example?

    On the other hand, it is much harder to dismiss as cranks those who make an attempt to establish common ground with you and afford you the option of disagreeing with them.

    Bashing is only really useful regarding those who already agree with you, especially if you are trying to motivate some kind of action (although this requires it to be coupled with such a call). It can also work with those who have a latent hostility which needs to be triggered.

    Outside of this it isn't really useful at all due to its very low level of efficacy.
     
  19. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I don't know. Maybe I was taking a clue from the name of the Forum? "Religious Forums" or something like that, I recall.
     
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  20. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    No need to change... just a need to keep such things in check. Much like religious persons who criticize/bash atheism (of which there are MANY) also keep atheism in check. There is nothing objectively wrong with any of it.

    Bash atheism all you want... I may take a tidbit or two to heart and perhaps try and amend my ways if I find them to be in error. And otherwise at least I know where those doing the bashing stand. I find it always much better to remain informed rather than find myself in the opposite situation.
     
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