Saturday, October 3, 2009

The taboo of silence

Swimming upstream

One of the most difficult currents to navigate when speaking to god-believers about their beliefs is the dealing with the fragility of the believers feelings. Although their faith may flow like a river and come down with a force from upstream, they're easily hurt by the words of more reasonable thinking individuals. This is a problem.

It's a good trick to pull off, if anyone can do it, to express that religious nonsense truly is nonsense without plainly saying so. The taboos against plain speaking are still out there. CFI DC's executive director Melody Hensley explained in her blasphemy day speech that "Religious beliefs should be treated no different than other beliefs such as political, economic, or philosophical beliefs. . . ." but gosh, try doing that and see what happens.

I met with a group of Christians a few nights ago and ran into a brick wall at one point for pointing out that one of the arguments stated was merely conjecture, "all nonsense ideas coming out of the blue and merely made-up on the moment" (I admit that had also just whirled my fingers aside of my head eluding a suggestion of insanity). But yet, I was immediately warned that since someones feelings and belief were at stake, it was rude to say such a thing as I'd said. I wonder, if pointing out that poorly constructed thoughts are, in fact, poorly constructed thoughts and can't be entered into a conversation for reasons of consideration to the person who is thinking poorly, how does one proceed? Should a child who has responded that 2+2=7 not be corrected for reasons considering the possibility of hurt feelings?

This is that tricky little current I mentioned above. The taboo against plain talk about religion.

Sam Harris wrote a wonderful opinion on all of this. His summation:

If you haven't read Harris, do so.

If you know how to get past the taboo of silence on the subject of religion and how to not call nonsense by its proper name and be allowed to do speak plainly of for what it is, let me know your secret... Please.

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