Religion worse than being a Leafs fan

First, I thought this was a brilliant post. It appears there’s an ongoing conversation between Mr. Moore and a believer, Kelly McParland. She appears to have attempted to downplay the importance to an atheist that someone is a believer by comparing it to being a fan of a sports team, and Moore did a wonderful job stomping that. He rightly shows how sports fans don’t impose upon other’s like believers, and also how belief is far from being a mere personal action. McParland responded with five points, and rather than waiting for Moore to respond, I thought I’d go ahead and respond to them.

1. John says atheists disagree with what “the faithful” do rather than what they believe. That’s fine, so why not just criticize what they do? Trottier and his colleagues are challenging people for what they believe.

1. What the faithful do is predicated upon their beliefs, and they use it as justification; therefore, it’s more than appropriate to attack the beliefs rather than merely the actions of the faithful. Also, the customary response from the faithful when one of the flock does something bad is disown them and claim they’re not “real” believers.

2. Attacking people’s belief in God because some believers are a pain in the butt seems misplaced to me. He points out that  Leaf fans ”don’t disturb you by ringing the doorbell on Saturday to tell you the good news about Dion Phaneuf,” the way annoying religious proselytizers do. True, but last night two well-meaning people rang my doorbell when I was in the middle of making dinner to try and wheedle money out of me for needy children. So I’m supposed to condemn people who believe in raising money for needy children?

2. Someone’s intentions don’t excuse their actions, and nice try at comparing religious proselytizers to those attempting to help needy children.

3. In case the point of #2 isn’t clear, of course religious people do lots of annoying and even evil things. The same is true of some people who appreciate malt whisky (like John Moore. And me). But you don’t attack their entire belief system over it.

3. Again, if the belief system prompts the evil actions, then it deserves criticism. There’s no belief system for drinking scotch, so your analogy fails. People drink it for a variety of reasons, and act, while under its influence, in a variety of ways.

4. A lot of John’s complaints seem to centre on the determination of the faithful to force their views on others. I can agree with that. If people want to believe, that’s fine. But they shouldn’t try to force it on others. But that’s just what Trottier is doing: He’s running ads intruding on people to argue his beliefs over theirs.

4. Ads are, by their very nature, an intrusion but they are not an imposition. There’s a world of difference between arguing for something and imposing it on others.

5. A codicil to #4: Parents, of course, are going to drag their kids to church/temple/mosque and try to force-feed them their own beliefs. But parents tell their kids all sorts of weird stuff. I don’t think there’s much you can do about that, and the the kids usually figure it out eventually anyway.

5. The sad truth that parents may try to force feed their opinions and beliefs on their children is not an excuse nor a pass for it, plus there’s a huge degree of difference between making your kid a Leafs fan and making him or her believe they’re inherently flawed, their actions risk eternal punishment, and that they have the right to impose upon others.

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5 Responses to “Religion worse than being a Leafs fan”

  1. Being married to a die-hard Leafs fan, I'm tempted to quibble with your title. I agree with your response to McParland's first point. Criticizing the actions without criticizing their source is like treating a disease's symptoms without treating the cause. This goes along with your criticism of point #3: if a flawed belief system is the root cause of boorish behavior, then the beliefs will have to be addressed sooner or later if one wants to eradicate the behavior.

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  3. Religion not worse but people as well. All people not equal same as all religion not equal. Every one have their own point of view and have own thoughts. We should need to respect every religion.

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