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Okay To Offend Xtians... But Not Other Beliefs


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This started as a rant about my neighbour and people like her who pollute their children with all their ridiculous beliefs. And then I realized I'd better be careful because I might offend someone. And then I thought... wait, why is it okay to bash xtians and make fun of their wacky beliefs and laugh openly at them, but not at other kinds of wacky beliefs?

 

I am a non-believer, I do not believe in anything that has no basis in science or reason. I do not believe in spirits, or forces or energies or unicorns or spells, or witches or black magic, or reincarnation or chi or chakras. I think it's all crazy, wacky and silly. There I said it, if I offended you, so be it. I don't understand why it's okay to say that worshipping the sky daddy is wacky and silly but believing in chakras is something I'm supposed to walk gingerly around. Nope, no more.

 

My neighbour is a nutjob. She is a bandwagon jumper and she believes in all number of wacky things. The latest thing is that she has become a practitioner of reiki. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, here is the Wikipedia description:

 

a spiritual practice[1] developed in 1922 by Mikao Usui. After three weeks of fasting and meditating on Mount Kurama, in Japan, Usui claimed to receive the ability of "healing without energy depletion".[2] A portion of the practice, tenohira or palm healing, is used as a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).[3][4] Tenohira is a technique whereby practitioners believe they are moving "healing energy" (a form of ki) through the palms.

 

Yes, that's right, healing energy through the palms. These people charge big bucks to wave their hands over your body. Not only that, my neighbour who is sometimes too poor to feed her children properly, paid big bucks to learn how to wave her hands over people's bodies. And now, she is going to take her 11 year old son to a course, and pay more big bucks for HIM to learn how to wave his hands over people.

 

What a waste. And on top of that, she wants me to babysit her two younger kids for 4 hours while she takes her son to this course. Blah.

 

Heather

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It might be, at least here in the US, that since (a certain kind of) Christians tend to be the vocal ones with their beliefs, including putting down everyone else who doesn't agree with them, while, at least in my experience, people with other beliefs aren't putting down everyone else who doesn't agree with them. Therefore it seems ok to 'offend' Christians* but not others.

 

I guess it comes down to whether you think it's ok to offend people (where offense is truly meant*) or not. I personally don't, but I'm also very non-confrontational, and don't feel the best way to get along with people (which is always my goal, seeing as I hate people being upset with me) or to change their minds is to upset them*.

 

 

*One problem might be with the term "offend" itself. When one says they disagree with a (certain kind of) Christian, or suggests, however politely, that the evidence one has disagrees with a tenet of Christianity, (certain kinds of) Christians get offended when no offense was meant and reasoned discussion was the intent of the comment. I can't say I've talked to a lot of religious non-Christians, and certainly not about belief, but as yet I have not seen any evidence of the easy offense (certain kinds of) Christians take.

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Oi. You're not by any chance a second personality of Antlerman's are you, Zoo? (inside joke ;))

 

I hear you, Heather. I'm not going to go about telling New Agers their silly beliefs are silly (well, not much anyway), but not spoiling for a fight doesn't mean I don't think it. 'Course, as we all know, I'm kind of an Arrogant Bastard* (and I drink the same), so.

 

*Fortunately, most of the more spiritually-inclined folks hereabouts are willing to overlook that in the interest of getting to partake of my awesomeness.

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I agree that giving up one unfounded belief for another makes no sense. Some people have a need to believe that I don't relate to.

 

That said, as long as people don't claim to have The Answer™ and insist that I must agree with them, I don't care if they believe in angels, fairies, crystals or leprechauns. Christians, however, frequently do insist they are right and that I must also embrace their beliefs. Therefore, I have no problem pointing out the negative nature of that religion.

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If I feel they deserve it, I'll tell anyone they're a retard. This means if they're sitting there telling me how their shit don't stink, and I've had enough, they'll usually get a nose full. It's usually xians saying how all that mystically new age shit is laughable then they talk about angels and demons being real. WTF? But then you get some new age guy talking about magically healing my nuts by waving some crystals around but laughing about how prayer is bullshit. WTF? Geodes aren't doing shit for me moron (well some are pretty sexy but I'll save that for GettingMyRocksOffUsingRocks.com forums).

 

Here's the deal. You use your voodoo to actually DO SOMETHING worth a fuck and you've got my attention. Otherwise you're just a nutter waiting to get on my bad side.

 

mwc

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Heather, if you don't want to babysit her kids, say so. I understand your dilemma but I try to keep in mind that these forums are for exChristians of all stripes and not for atheists only. I understand why some people believe in the supernatural and also why some don't--after all, I'm one of the latter.

 

In my opinion, it is okay to rant about a thoughtless neighbour, regardless of her beliefs. Sounds like she might be walking over you and expecting to be thanked for it. THE BITCH!!! It doesn't necessarily take a Christian to do that, though they might be the single largest group to do it. We all know people like that. And I can see why you are indignant.

 

Not knowing more of the situation than I do, my suggestion would be for you to stand up for your rights not to babysit her kids of that is what you want, but to live and let live so long as she does not abuse her young son (11-year-old) by exposing him to this rieke business. I've heard of it but never got involved in it so I don't know what it really is.

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To me it seems pretty easy. If I have two neighbors believing in claims A and B respectively, and both are totally ludicrous when examined from a rational point of view... but the claim A proponent ceaselessly shoves it into my face any chance she gets... then she will find my fists in her face (or at least The Finger™ in front of it). The adherent to claim B may be believing in something every bit as ludicrous, but as long as she keeps it to herself... well it's her right to (dis)believe whatever she wants personally. It's none of my business unless she starts to try and make her beliefs part of my life.

 

For all I can tell, both in the US and here in Germany (and, I assume, in most of the "western nations"), the dominating cult trying to spread itself is the jebus cult. It should come to no surprise then that the jebus cultists have to stand the most heat.

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To me it seems pretty easy. If I have two neighbors believing in claims A and B respectively, and both are totally ludicrous when examined from a rational point of view... but the claim A proponent ceaselessly shoves it into my face any chance she gets... then she will find my fists in her face (or at least The Finger in front of it). The adherent to claim B may be believing in something every bit as ludicrous, but as long as she keeps it to herself... well it's her right to (dis)believe whatever she wants personally. It's none of my business unless she starts to try and make her beliefs part of my life.

 

For all I can tell, both in the US and here in Germany (and, I assume, in most of the "western nations"), the dominating cult trying to spread itself is the jebus cult. It should come to no surprise then that the jebus cultists have to stand the most heat.

Ok thurisaz, this time you did it! I was drinking my lovely diet-coke and splattered it everywhere whilst reading this post...am still laughing. You would really plant your fist into a lady? or give her the finger? the image my head got then added with your avatar was quite the comedic little scenario..I enjoy your posts. :P

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It could be because in the US, it is mainly Christians who try to force their beliefs onto others by any means possible, including legislation. Also this is a site for ex-Christians, not for example, ex-Muslims or something else.

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Carlin said it best; "you got to call stupid when you see it." Xtianity is the most prevalent form of stupid in the US, therefore gets called the most.

*in my best Forrest Gump* Stupid is as Stupid does.

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Who says that we don't laugh at others' wacky beliefs. Christians just make it easy, but there are plenty of others, from the occasinal Muslim seeking converts here, to Objectivists that seemingly worship Ayn Rand (just another dead god, and it's okay when she does it), to the crystal-waving contingent (if you believe hard enough, you'll get to your fairy self that looks just like you are now, but cooler, tada!), to Jews looking for converts (ok, so it was one Jew, and a long time ago), and the (not so) occasional militant atheist, we've riffed on those that have seemed to replaced their good sense with something else, instead of augmenting it. Christianity is the frequent red-headed-step-child we beat here, mostly because it's a target-rich environment.

 

No one has the right to be not offended. It is only for the convenience of dealing with others that we do so. Once the irritation caused by their batshittery has become larger than their use, well, that's usually when the flames start. Especially when one wants the nutter to leave (or to leave alone).

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The thought occurs there's a parallel to be drawn here from Neil's thread. I've no problem with people believing silly things, but I think there's a difference between "silly" and "stupid/harmful," even if neither is trying to mandate their beliefs for others.

 

I see Thur's belief in the ancient Norse pantheon as an example of the former. No offense intended, naturally, but let's be honest. Belief in the Aesir and Vanir in the modern world is more than a little silly from a purely logical standpoint (though, personally, I give it a pass for also being awesome. I'd like to see Jesus tame and ride a six-legged stag, or take on an Ice Giant in a wrestling match. :grin:). More to the point, however, even believing as you do, if Islington comes down with some kind of illness which keeps her bedridden for several days with no sign of letting up, you don't pray to Odin or Freya to heal her - you put her in the car and take her to the hospital.

 

Belief in crystal healing, chi, chakras, reiki and associated other such New Age horse hockey that tells a person state-certified physicians and modern medicine are at least unnecessary, if not actually bad for her/him, however, pitches its tents firmly in the latter's camp. If Heather's friend wants to believe she can alleviate minor aches and pains by waving her hands over people, that's her prerogative. If, however, her son becomes ill and, rather than taking him to the hospital, she instead waves her hands over him too, that situation strikes as rather less benign. At that point her beliefs have gone from a silly but purely personal affair to actually harming another human being.

 

'Course, all that said, I've no more idea where to draw the line than anyone else. It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where people weren't so eager to buy snake oil and trained medical professionals weren't the object of so many conspiracy theories, but that's obviously not the case. Moreover, believing in the value of individual agency and responsibility as strongly as I do makes criticizing others for coming to a conclusion I don't agree with ring rather hollow and hypocritical.

 

I suppose Travit Tritt (of all people) said it best. "I don't have all the answers, but I'll share my point of view."

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Ok thurisaz, this time you did it! I was drinking my lovely diet-coke and splattered it everywhere whilst reading this post...am still laughing. You would really plant your fist into a lady? or give her the finger?

 

Hey, we're (officially) living in the age of gender equality. What's good for the goose... :fdevil:

 

(Honestly though, no, it's unlikely that I would start any act of physical violence even against a male. If I should get attacked, well, that may be another case :) )

 

As for the Finger, however... :pureevil:

 

the image my head got then added with your avatar was quite the comedic little scenario..I enjoy your posts. :P

 

:blink:

 

Okay thankfully I had my coffee mug set firmly on the table before I read this. Now you made me burst into laughing. Imagining king Thorkild doing this is indeed... :P

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I see Thur's belief in the ancient Norse pantheon as an example of the former. No offense intended, naturally, but let's be honest. Belief in the Aesir and Vanir in the modern world is more than a little silly from a purely logical standpoint (though, personally, I give it a pass for also being awesome. I'd like to see Jesus tame and ride a six-legged stag, or take on an Ice Giant in a wrestling match. :grin:). More to the point, however, even believing as you do, if Islington comes down with some kind of illness which keeps her bedridden for several days with no sign of letting up, you don't pray to Odin or Freya to heal her - you put her in the car and take her to the hospital.

 

Quite true Woody. Of course for all I know there's not one single thing in my faith that would demand from me that I deny reality so there's no conflict here ;)

 

From my point of view, higher powers exist but they are not of the interventionist kind. Midgard (Earth) is our business, Asgard is theirs - until The Day, whenever it may come... if it comes at all :)

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I tend think that those healing things are quite silly. But, on the other hand, if someone uses them in addition to actually tested medicine it probably won't hurt, so why not? I think it's pathetic that she is spending money she doesn't have on this stuff and wanting you to babysit her kids. Just my opinion.

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Everyone asks where the harm is. The "why not?" It's how superstitions are created is the "why not." Her kid is sick. She waves her beads around and shouts "booga booga." The kid gets better. She connects the two. The kid is better. No harm done. Why not? She hits a streak. Booga booga. "This shit works," she thinks to herself. She tells others and they discover the healing power of this nonsense cure-all. But no harm done. People are getting better and it just takes some beads and some magic words. But now they don't identify healing with actual science but with this other garbage. Superstition is firmly implanted into the collective mind rather than reason. This is the harm. This is the "why not."

 

But what happens when the kid doesn't get better? More beads? More shouting? Maybe this illness requires something more? Something different? A sacrifice? A goat? I'm not joking. This is how things progress. First it's a little prayer. Then it's a little burnt offering of some incense or some plants. Then it grows because the problems grow. Soon it's killing animals and even people. We don't do that now. I don't expect the new agers to start doing it now when their crystals fail but they do try more crystals. They do try more meditation. They do try more gimmicks. It's the evolution of things.

 

Is science better? Somewhat. If you open the box and read the pamphlet (or go to the website) you can read how many people the meds were tested on. The results. The side-effects. Decide if that is something you wish to undertake or go to something else. Can I do that with beads? No. I sure can't. Same with more every other medicine and/or procedure there is. I can get my odds at success and side-effects. No need to think about some superstitious force because it will work or not no matter what the universe thinks of me. No need to appease anyone (except the insurance ;) ). If it fails it's not because I didn't hold the crystal in the right place, align my chi correctly or have my couch along the wrong wall. None of this means you won't die. You won't get stuck playing "trial and error" trying to cure what ails you. It just means the cures are based in reality.

 

The "why not" is this stuff does society harm by allowing not just these silly thoughts to persist but it allows for other silly thoughts to persist and it makes easier for other silly thoughts to make it into the main stream. If these people were told they were stupid and to go back into their homes until they weren't stupid anymore then we'd all be collectively better off. Yes, stupid people are nice too, but that doesn't make them less stupid. It's probably their niceness that makes their stupidity so infectious.

 

mwc

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I think this is real simple. By design, political correctness extends to all people except for white Christian males. They are fair game, and any abuse of them is encouraged.

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