No, you can’t

“Actually, all religions have something worthwhile, but we can whittle them down to different ways of saying the golden rule.”

Can I just say that I’m tired of this?  I’m tired of this.  So tired of this.  There are important, “worthwhile” parts of my religion, my ideology, my Weltanschauung, my approach to making sense of existence and humanity, besides just “don’t be a jerk,” and if you don’t don’t understand how that can be, then I can only presume it’s because you haven’t put much time into developing your own ideology yourself.

Geez louise.  This kind of stuff is the reason why I have half a mind to put more religious posts on this blog.  Been thinking about hammering out a longwinded compare and contrast post between status-oriented and deed-oriented models of morality (and unpacking some of the practical implications of each), but I haven’t been able to think of a proper justification for it besides “people keep not getting this” (or not realizing that there are alternate conceptual frameworks available) “and it’s irritating me.”

11 responses to “No, you can’t

  • salmelo

    For what it’s worth, I’d be really interested in such an in depth compare and contrast post.

  • Brin

    I’d be interested too.

    “people keep not getting this” (or not realizing that there are alternate conceptual frameworks available) “and it’s irritating me.”

    I’ve read plenty of good posts in my time that had this as their only justification. (Also some bad ones, but having more reasons than the above isn’t necessary to make a worthwhile post.)

  • timberwraith

    Give it a try, acetheist. I’m interested, too.

    I have to toss in a little bit of snark regarding the blog post you linked to. I think it’s ironic when someone talks about the golden rule while also encouraging the mocking of others. I wonder how the author would respond if a Buddhist or a Christian encouraged members of their group to mock atheists?

    Somehow, I’m guessing that wouldn’t be received well.

    • acetheist

      I’m sure they’d only regard it as further evidence of their/our wrongheadedness.

      Granted, I can understand, when you’re think you’re right and someone else is obviously wrong, deriding whatever seems silly to you — I was doing the same thing myself just a few posts ago, in response to the “sacred sex” beliefs. All the same, I confess to getting irritated with stuff like this when it comes across as lazy.

    • Rayan Zehn

      I’m the author, and I’d be fine with anyone mocking my beliefs. Beliefs are not human so they deserve no rights. No belief is above criticism. Actually, I look forward to hearing different narratives, even if they criticize me.

      • timberwraith

        Criticism I’ve no problem with and criticism can be done in a way that isn’t mocking. It can also be done with force and anger and still not be mocking.

        The problem with mocking is that it often makes the person doing the mocking look like an asshole. Respect is a two way street. A lack of respect is usually met with a corresponding lack of respect. If that’s the game you wish to play, so be it, but don’t be surprised if people treat you like a jerk when you behave like a jerk.

        Furthermore, there is a widespread stereotype that atheists—particularly the more activist members of the group—behave like a group of people with a superiority complex who tend to dismiss others as stupid and beneath contempt. In the long run, feeding into that stereotype isn’t terribly constructive.

        • Rayan Zehn

          Sure, I agree with you. I would never, in my professional life, attempt to publish a paper by mocking a belief. But as I stated in my “about” section (we can call it my methods chapter), I often employ satire. And since religious beliefs are non-falsifiable, we must use unconventional methods to discuss them. So that’s what I do in this blog. In my academic career I actually paint religion in a good light (I usually study suicide missions, and I have thus far found no correlation between religious belief and suicide attack or suicide demonstration). In my non-academic career I’m perfectly comfortable with discarding the certain rules to underscore (what I consider) absurdities.

  • doubleinvert

    Saying they all can be reduced to basically being the Golden Rule is not only nonsense, but very Christo-centric. It really shows some bias there.

    I’m a Christo-pagan: a first degree Wiccan priestess who’s been accepted to seminary and pursing Christian ordination. While it could be argued that the Wiccan Rede and the Law of Return are in some ways similar to the Golden Rule and the second half of the Great Commandment, they are not the same.

    Also, I’d add that while 2 Chronicles is part of the Bible, it’s not part of the Gospels (this is addressing the subtitle of The Atheist Paper’s blog banner). But maybe that’s nitpicking.


  • code16

    This makes me think of how there’s a lot of just ignoring or not even giving recognition or etc to the philosophy parts of religions. Like, in all sorts of places.

    Like, as a fairly… prominent/inflammatory thing that comes to mind, say the whole ‘you’ll go to hell if’ thing – as a non-Christian if I see it from some Christians I’m probably seeing it being used as a weapon, or a recruitment point, or abuse technique, and if I see it from non-Christians or other Christians I’m probably seeing responses to it being used that way. I pretty much never see anyone actually go into things like ‘ok, so there’s some questions to answer about existence about morality etc, and here’s a particular answer and what it means, in contrast to other answers…’. (Which to be clear, if something’s been used as a weapon etc against someone, responding to it that way is an extremely and entirely valid etc response. And it’s absolutely not on those people to do otherwise.)

    Or like, I remember being annoyed at my comparative religions class because we spent most of our time on like, what everyone’s holidays are and vocab words and stuff and not particularly much time on like. Well.

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