speedy, on February 26, 2012 - 15:05, said:
I wouldn't say it's okay to bash, because it's certainly not, but it's okay to question. Anytime a faith is questioned, even if someone wants to gain more knowledge about it, the one questioned usually jumps in a hole and claims religious freedom.
The thing with religion is that so many people THINK they know what they're talking about when they rarely do. So they enter a discussion about religion or religions with a Wikipedia-level of understanding of a centuries-old beliefs system and make grand proclamations as if they know what the hell they're talking about. That's more of a failing of the educational system and the prevalence of popular history over actual history (Galileo being persecuted by an evil Catholic Church dedicated to keeping people stupid is a better story then what actually happened, so that's what people know, etc...), but still. People, by and large, tend to be uneducated on topics concerning faiths they don't practice or were raised in.
No one's going to think less of you if you're unfamiliar with the tenants and history of a belief system you weren't raised in. So if you (as you said, a general "you") are unsure about something that doesn't apply to you, just fricken ask. speedy, you claim that when faith is questioned, even by those simply seeking knowledge or clarification, the faithful retreat into a ball and act in a hostile manner. I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I welcome it if someone unfamiliar with my faith questions me about it because they wish to know more about it or why we do this or that. Not that long ago Buc asked me why a lot of Jews type G-d instead of spelling out the name of the Lord. He was just looking to understand. I explained. All good. I would rather more people ask and question me about my faith rather then assume they know what they're talking about when they don't, and then make grand, moronic statements fuelled by their ignorance.
Look at the conversation between loogodude and Saintsfan. loogodude has displayed his lack of knowledge of the Christian holiday of Lent. He could have just asked "hey, I don't get why you do this, can a Christian explain it to me?" Instead he chose to mock and degrade it because he assumed that, despite his clear lack of knowledge, he knew what he was talking about.
Either way he got a rather calm response from a Christian explaining how the holiday works, but I have to imagine the whole decorum of the discussion would have been more civil had he simply just asked instead of being an intolerant, uneducated prick about it.
If you want to practice in public expect to get some negative feedback. Welcome to life, that's how it works - with everything.
Not so. There have been plenty of threads over the years here dedicated to celebrating my faith. I've started my fair share of them. They're rather harmless, just wishing a happy Hanukkah or Rosh Hashanah. Not all that different from the purposes of this thread actually. Now usually with threads directed towards Jewish holidays the people posting are either Jews who want to wish each other a happy holiday or non-Jews who want to wish their Jewish board members a happy holiday. Then the thread sinks into oblivion, no harm no foul. Yet a Christian seems unable to do the same thing without people claiming they have the "right" to openly question their beliefs, often to the point of mockery. Why is that? Why am I free to post a thread celebrating Passover without it being a means for others to attack my faith while a Christian can't start a thread celebrating Lent without it becoming just that? Is it because Christianity is "mainstream," and the dominant religion? So it becomes ok to mock and degrade?
Somehow that doesn't seem right to me.
I have no problem with any religion or anyone's beliefs, more power to you. The problem I have is most people of faith are rather close-minded to anyone else's beliefs if they are different.
Ultimately I believe we would all be in a better off if we just took time to understand and respect the beliefs of others, even if we don't agree with them. Asking an atheist to be respectful of a Christian's observation of Lent isn't a demand that they become a Christian. Just like no one's asking a Christian to stop believing in G-d in order to understand and respect an atheist's lack of belief. It's just a simple plea to common decency, that you not use a public reflection of faith to mock or degrade. It all just comes down to respect. Respect the personal beliefs of your fellow man. Ask if you're curious, and don't push your beliefs onto others.
If simply being asked to show a little human decency and not talk down to someone who doesn't share your personal belief system is being "Ice Capped" then alright. There are worse sentiments to be associated with.