Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

No More Preaching, Thanks

Posted by honestpoet on January 28, 2007

I recently disengaged myself from a discussion when it became clear that at least one of the participants viewed the interaction as a debate (I’ll leave a discussion of the other for later…suffice to say it’s rather pointless to continue, for different reasons). And I’d recently done the same thing over at bloggernista’s blog with this homophobic nut-job who’s like a plague there, after it became clear that he was interested in the same thing.

The problem with debate is that the participants aren’t listening to their opponents’ points; they’re too busy trying to refute them.

As I said at the recently abandoned thread, I’m not blogging to get into debates. I’m blogging to vent my frustrations with the status quo, and in hopes of effecting some change on it by raising awareness of some things. The toxicity of religion is just one of them, but it’s certainly the one that gets the most opposition. I think we should look at why.

Religion is at the core of most people’s identity. When children ask each other about religion, they don’t say, “What religion do you observe?” or “What’s your spiritual practice?” They say, “What are you?” (What’s really horrible is that around here ADULTS will ask the same question of someone of mixed race.) And when people have the core of their identity challenged, they usually have a strong emotional response.

Having a conversation with someone in this condition usually doesn’t serve much point. They will make their arguments using all sorts of borrowed rhetoric, often citing bits of a book that I don’t consider any sort of authority, and then absolutely refuse to understand that they’re arguing with a diseased organ. Because religion IS a disease. It colors every aspect of one’s perception. And it’s pathological. It causes one to see oneself as incomplete without it. Preachers are no better than plastic surgeons who advertise in women’s magazines with air-brushed pictures of 18-year-old asses. It’s unethical to create your own market. People who actually offer something of value SEE a need and then fill it; they don’t create the need. Preachers convince you you need saving, just like those Egyptian priests with their stories of horrible monsters and demons in the afterlife that their costly Books of the Dead could save you from, then offer salvation with their hands outstretched for a donation.

And these preachers are crazy. Not only do a large number of them have substance-abuse issues, but sexual ones, as well. (Catholic priests aren’t the only ones, they just get more press cuz it’s a deeper pocket to sue.) And they spout their craziness to the sheeple in the pews. Right now there’s a big to-do about the seven-headed anti-Christ. Turns out Obama is the seventh head. (Hilary has been known to be one of the heads for a long time.) Sexist, racist, homophobes giving spiritual advice all across the nation. Egads. And the superstitious gullible fractured Christians lapping it up. Is it any wonder Bush was elected?

And that guy. Sheesh. A man clearly too stupid to hold the office he does who got there only on name recognition and because Americans fear intelligence. We really are on our way to hell in a hand-basket.

So here’s the deal. I don’t want to hear from anyone anymore who believes in an invisible being who created or runs the universe [about why I should entertain such a ridiculous belief]. In Buddhism they have an axiom, that there’s nothing to be gained from concourse with fools. Life’s too short, and I have a lot of work to do. If you make a post trying to argue the case for your imaginary friend, it will be deleted.

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9 Responses to “No More Preaching, Thanks”

  1. whig said

    I offer no argument, but ask whether you would have me delink.

  2. honestpoet said

    Whatever you think is best, Whig.

  3. Stephen said

    I’m shocked at the stridency of this post. First, you denounce people who engage in “debate” because they won’t listen to other points of view. Then you make it clear that you won’t listen to theists.

    (And, btw, the word “debate” doesn’t mean what you seem to think it does.)

    Here’s a point I often try to communicate in the blogosphere. The USA is rife with a particularly virulent form of fundamentalist Christianity. If you lived in Canada (where I live) or in Europe, you would not face the same sort of militarist, ideological Christianity you’re accustomed to. It is virtually unknown here, a tiny, powerless minority.

    The point is, you cannot rationally tar all theists, all Christians, with the same brush:

    I don’t want to hear from anyone anymore who believes in an invisible being who created or runs the universe. In Buddhism they have an axiom, that there’s nothing to be gained from concourse with fools.

    This is blind prejudice. You ought to be embarrassed to talk this way, however frustrated you are at the moment.

    Sheesh!

  4. honestpoet said

    Stephen, I’m not saying at all that theists aren’t welcome to post here. I’m saying that I will not engage anyone in debate about the existence or non-existence of god. It’s simply a waste of time. And I don’t have that much to spare.

    This is my blog. I’ll not have it littered with such nonsense.

  5. honestpoet said

    (And I’ll be as strident as I please. If I were a man, would you call me strident, or direct? I wonder.)

  6. Stephen said

    My use of the word “strident” has nothing to do with your sex. It was a response to (a) your statement that you will delete any comment that defends a certain point of view and (b) your indefensible characterization of all theists as fools.

    I’m a theist, so I’m a fool. I called the post “strident” so I’m sexist. Got it. Thanks for saving me the trouble of defining myself.

  7. Stephen said

    Instead of “strident”, I wish you had responded to two other words in my comment.

    First, prejudice. Here’s how I understand your post. You had a negative experience with certain theists on some other blog. You have generalized that experience to all theists, and concluded that we’re all fools and it is a waste of time to dialogue with any of us.

    This leap, from a few “bad apples” to characterizing the whole group with the same pejorative (“fools”) is prejudice.

    I responded by acknowledging that there’s a particular problem in the USA, but suggested that it doesn’t apply to all Christians everywhere. I wish you had responded to that point.

    Second, the word “shocked”. Far from having a low opinion of you, I have been impressed by your intelligence and respect for other points of view, even while you capably defend your own strong convictions. I am therefore shocked by this post, because you sink beneath the positive opinion I had formed of you.

    I regret that I offended you by my use of the word strident. I assure you, I respond to people’s arguments on their merits, and not on any ad hominem grounds.

  8. honestpoet said

    Stephen, I didn’t call you a sexist. One such slip can hardly allow me to form such an opinion. I mused about the possibility of your responding differently to a man using the same kind of language. Such a thing is possible, even in a man who doesn’t define himself as a sexist.

    Thanks for the kind words about your perception of me. I’m glad you thought so. I must not be doing too badly.

    Let me address your concerns. First, prejudice. I am not prejudiced against Christians in the way you imply. And I did not say that Christians are not welcome to post here; I am happy to dialog with Christians, if only to dispel the stereotypes that you hold about us. I said that I refuse to enter into a debate about the existence or non-existence of god. Look around on the internet (as I’m sure you’ve done) and you will see so many pointless, endless, fruitless debates between theists and atheists. All I’m saying is that if you’d like another, you’ll have to find it elsewhere. That’s not what this blog is about.

  9. whig said

    Stephen, if I may (and if Honestpoet will permit me),

    It is not prejudice to think that a group of people with a false idea are fools, as long as you can demonstrate that the idea is false. That is to say, you may be judicious in your characterization. On the other hand, it is provocative. I prefer to think that I don’t know everything, and evidence bears me out all the time.

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