Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Religious Sensitivity

Whenever I encounter an individual pleading for a cessation of criticism on behalf of religious sensitivity I am usually never sympathetic. The entire charade of religious sensitivity reeks of intellectual bankruptcy, if one is able to support the beliefs, dogma and practices with argument then one hardly needs to plea for exemption. It is predominately those beliefs, dogmas and practices which are unsupportable which individuals will evoke sensitivity for. I find this tactic not only intellectually reprehensible but exceedingly revealing. It doesn’t say much for the beliefs in question if, rather than allow the evidence and support for them surface, one attempts to prohibit their being questioned or criticized in the first place.
Religious sensitivities raison d’etre is clearly a not so subtle attempt to prohibit the questioning and criticism of religious beliefs, dogma and practices. This illustrates that the individual evoking such a plea is already well aware of the insecurity inherent in their claims and practices, otherwise they would be more than willing to illustrate the evidence and reason for these items so that the questioner or critic would be able to understand the conviction in dispute and possibly even agree with it.
I am also not the least bit sympathetic to anyone who becomes offended when a cherished belief of theirs is questioned, criticized or repudiated. I understand very well that many people are unable to review their beliefs and hold to them in a dispassionate manner, this is no ones fault but their own, and furthermore many of these “sensitive” beliefs are not only offensive to others but dangerous. People would do well to arrive at their convictions through a systematic and dispassionate process by which they reviewed specific claims and adhered to them only when they are sufficiently supportable and furthermore they should not become emotionally involved with the convictions to a point that, when the convictions are questioned or criticized, they then feel personally denigrated.
I hold to many beliefs - as does everyone - and many of them are questioned and criticized on a daily basis and yet still others have been repudiated. Never have I felt that my personhood was under attack, except for the instances in which it was, I have never reacted in an overtly emotional manner and I have never pleaded for the cessation of questioning or criticism on behalf of sensitivity lest I become offended. Sometimes I am offended by an argument or a criticism sent my way but rather than ask for the cessation of that criticism I engage it and the majority of the time I and my antagonist reach an armistice or at least a better understanding of each others positions, this is only possible when tactics such as pleading for exemption on behalf of sensitivity are completely ignored. I take such questioning and criticism as the very process by which my convictions are emboldened and strengthened, it illustrates the errors of my beliefs and helps in their remediation; I take such criticism as an essential aspect foundational to my pursuit of knowledge and understanding and I am nothing less than grateful for it.


elijeremiah said...

This is an insightful and extremely well-written piece!! I could not agree with you more. A while back I was going to write something along these lines, but I never got around to it. This is much better than what I could have done.

Quote: ". . . and furthermore many of these “sensitive” beliefs are not only offensive to others but dangerous."

Exactly. It never ceases to amaze me how a religous fanatic can say the most outrageously offensive things about someone who's different, and then when you call them on it, suddenly you're being "insensitive" towards their faith.

JDHURF said...

I simply have no patience or tolerance for the escapist tactic that is the plea for cessation or criticism by evoking “religious sensitivity.”
We do not abstain from criticizing those that deny the holocaust despite their possible sensitivity. We do not abstain from those that claim to be Jesus regardless of whether or not they may then become offended, we do not abstain from questioning those that believe in UFO abductions, we do not abstain from criticizing Islamist suicide bombers, racists, individuals intoxicated on psychedelics making unrealistic claims, etc.

It is time to call out the intellectually bankrupt and escapist tactic that is the basis of the call for “religious sensitivity.” If someone believes something then they must support it. If they are unwilling or unable to support it then they should either not vocalize the belief or expect criticism and they must not be allowed to scurry behind the cowardly facade of “religious sensitivity.” I am “insensitive” to the entire charade of “religious sensitivity” and it is well enough time that the majority of society joins me.

Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

vjack said...

Bravo! That was an excellent post. I couldn't agree more.

JDHURF said...

Thank you very much!

Sadie Lou said...

The Bible is clear that as followers of Christ, we are to be "thick skinned"--tough.
The Bible is very clear as to how Christians are to be towards one another as far as ignoring an offense and being the "bigger person" in an argumentitive situation.
I expect that Christians that plead for "religious sensitivity" are not aware of how tolerent Jesus was to his accuser's offenses.
Sometimes, a call for religious sensitivity is in light of religious opression--we experience discrimination the same as any other people group.
So, I partially agree with some of your opinions here.

JDHURF said...

Hey Sadie,

I’m glad to see that you have stopped by and left a comment.

I agree that religious sensitivity can be an absolutely valid statement. I believe that there are, in a sense, true forms of blasphemy; simply not in the “religious” sense, such as the wonton bombing of Mosques in Iraq, the defiling of Jewish graveyards or the burning down of Christian churches. Clearly these are all cases in which I would be not only open to the religious sensitivity argument but I would be, myself, presenting it.
The point I was after in my post was that when the religious make claims such as “abortion is murder” they cannot expect to be exempt from criticism by hiding behind the “religious sensitivity” argument. I am simply not moved by those presenting beliefs that are offensive to others, and potentially dangerous, and then arguing that no one is allowed to criticize the beliefs because they are “religious” beliefs and are very “sensitive” to them. This is intellectually dishonest and reprehensible and I will not allow for it. As far as legitimate discrimination, as I said, I not only have no problem with the argument I will be vocalizing it myself on behalf of the religionists.

Thank you for the comments.

Stardust said...

Your posts are always worth waiting for.

Religious sensitivities raison d’etre is clearly a not so subtle attempt to prohibit the questioning and criticism of religious beliefs, dogma and practices.

Exactly. What a convenient way to not allow people to disrupt the brainwashing and practices of the "borg".

JDHURF said...

Thank you very much for the compliment! When the religious implement the religious sensitivity argument with me it is in absolute vain. Now we need to convince many moderate theists of this basic principle and, I believe, there could be vast improvements made regarding unchecked religious fundamentalism and extremism.

Mickbic said...

well well nice rant for a tin man looking for his heart his brain and some courage. dah wizard mutta wenta that away. wunnit the humanist manifestos channelled by the same dude that brought us alfred e neuman?

JDHURF said...

It appears as though some comments and arguments are so inherently absurd, maniacal and self-negating that no response is necessary.

GnihpGurl said...

I couldn't agree more with you. Thank you for posting such a strong and reasonable post about Riligious Sensitivity. It does help me lots on my project at school!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more! Thank you for posting such a strong and reasonable statement and supporting details. It does help me lots with my project at school! Keep on the good work ;)

JDHURF said...

I am glad that the post helped you in any way at school. It is also reassuring to hear that people agree. Keep your mind open!