Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Just a Cracker

Countless blogs have already weighed in on this topic, so I will make this brief.

PZ Meyers finally desecrated his cracker and everybody is up in arms about the thing.

He is being criticized on all sides for being disrespectful and rude to the Catholic faith.

It is my opinion that the Catholics brought this on themselves. If they wouldn't have made such a huge stink about a young man taking a wafer from communion to show his friend, nobody would have cared.

They believe the wafer is the body of Christ and it is sacred to them. Nobody is going into their churches and desecrating wafers in front of them, or stealing them out of their mouths.

But their ridiculous response to this young man who had no bad intentions is what needed to be criticized.

I have no problem with the Catholics holding a cracker in reverence. It's kind of wacky, but it's their choice. But their freedom to believe ends at the point where they try to make everyone else also revere this cracker.

It is necessary for somebody to ridicule this. We cannot allow every religious faith on the planet to demand that everyone else revere their beliefs. Do you know how many religious faiths there are on this planet? Why should Catholicism get preferential treatment? Is it because their beliefs are old? Or because many people subscribe to them?

In the U.S. and in most other western countries, we are free to mock and criticize films, books, celebrities, politicians, you name it, but religion is off limits.

This needs to end. Religions should not be above criticism, not any of them. No matter how many millions of people subscribe to their beliefs, it is still our freedom to criticize those beliefs. My beliefs should also not be above criticism. You are free to come to this blog and tell me what an idiot I am. That is your right, just as it is my right to hold my beliefs.

Nobody has the right not to have their feelings hurt.

It was brought up by a commentor on Atheist Revolution's blog that it is hypocritical for atheists to be upset when Rep. Davis tells an atheist that his beliefs are dangerous but to think it is okay to disrespect the eucharist.

I completely disagree with this. In the first instance, an atheist was being denied his rights to voice his opinion by a government official. Our government is supposed to be secular, and we are supposed to be guaranteed the freedom of religion.

In the second instance, a man is given a cracker in church, he decides to takes it home, and doesn't consider it to be the body of Christ.

Just because somebody is offended by something, doesn't mean that people shouldn't be allowed to do it.

I am offended by smokers who stand too close to me. I am offended by people who curse in front of children. I am offended by people who ride the tram and don't bathe regularly. That doesn't mean that I can demand these people to stop doing those things on the grounds that it is disrespectful to my beliefs.

In short, more of us need to criticize each other's beliefs. If you are lucky enough, you live in a country where the freedom of speech is one of your rights. Don't allow religion or anyone else to take that right away from us.

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Andy Field said...

I looked at PZ's article. I'm not a big fan of the Catholic church and certainly do not believe in the magic of the cracker.

I'll begin like this: Many Christians are obnoxious. Some Catholics are, too. But I'm not sure that obnoxious atheism is the solution.

I have a bad habit of getting on people's nerves intentionally. I think I do this because I'm a low stress kind of guy -- I don't get rattled easily. So when I meet a person who does stress out easily, my subconscious thinks that if I try to increase their stress level, they'll see how silly they are for stressing out. It doesn't work that way.

I really do kow how to talk to people and interact with them, even when they don't know how. I am a pretty smart guy.

I think that intellectual atheists, like you and PZ, would agree. In-your-face atheism works no better or worse than in-your-face Christianity.

Britt said...

"Nobody has the right not to have their feelings hurt."

Right on!

I used to cling to some sort of notion that people did have a right to not be offended. What junk that is! I watch far too much South Park to keep that belief up.

Also, reading through this guy's responses to the hate mail he gets, did a lot to change my mind.

The Amiable Atheist said...

In-your-face atheism works no better or worse than in-your-face Christianity.

No progress or freedom has ever been won by quietly sitting by and being polite. People had to fight for equality, for the freedom to believe what they want, and for the freedom to say what they want.

When these freedoms come under attack, it is time to fight to protect them.

Apathy achieves nothing.

Andy Field said...

I didn't mean to imply that we should be apathetic. Just civil.

The previous comments give rise to simply this: Neither South Park nor the hate mail that PZ receives are the gauge by which we should determine our own level of discourse.

Andy Field said...

And although you inadvertently endorsed obnoxious Christianity, I will try to achieve progress civilly still.

The Amiable Atheist said...

That's one of the facts of free speech. We must give it to everyone, even those who say hateful things or who seem radical (for instance holocaust deniers, intolerant or racist people).

Obnoxious Christianity is a fact, just as obnoxious atheism is.

I would just encourage the moderates and not-so obnoxious among us to also speak out, lest the obnoxious are the only voices that get heard.