Someone posted the following quote on a message board I read. It’s funny to think of us, Americans, so many years after the Scopes trial still arguing the same old debate. Intelligent design is the newest rehashing of the fundamentalist need to force their nonsense down the throats of the “non-believers”.
“The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.
True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge. Did Darrow, in the course of his dreadful bombardment of Bryan, drop a few shells, incidentally, into measurably cleaner camps? Then let the garrisons of those camps look to their defenses. They are free to shoot back. But they can’t disarm their enemy.– H. L. Mencken, “Aftermath” (coverage of the Scopes Trial)”
Now, I know I come down kind of hard on Christians at times. But that quote is very much how I feel about the whole situation. The fictional man Mr. Mencken speaks of has the right to believe whatever he feels natural. It’s all well and good to have faith, to believe in whatever nonsense you want: Christ, Flying spaghetti Monster, Buddha, Mohammed, Homer Simpson, George W., Jehovah, what have you. But you have to understand that when you go public with your beliefs I should have no compulsion to respect said beliefs. I think the world would be much better if we, as a race, lifted the veil of mystery and respect off religion. Stop speaking of the capitol ‘G’ in such grandiose terms and let the arrows fly. If someone believes the earth to be the center of the universe they should be corrected, and if they continue to believe treated accordingly. By treated accordingly, I mean they should be looked as being wantonly ignorant and mocked as such. There should be no credence given to cretins(oooohhh witty). Believe what you want. I’ll believe what I want. But let’s tack responsibility for said beliefs. Go right ahead and preach to me, but be prepared to deal with the results of your beliefs.
Voltaire once said, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, with my life, your right to say it.” Humanity needs to wake up and stop handing out respect for poor ideas. While doing that we must remember to allow all ideas to be spoken. Then, once the ideas are out, treat them with the respect they deserve. ie: magical fairy in the sky should be mocked, geocentric universe should be mocked, saying the wrong state capital should be mocked, not knowing the bill of rights-mocked, not knowing how many states the U.S has-mocked, no meat on Fridays-mocked, believing in the scientific method-praised… Sorry had to throw that in there.
Faith is a strange thing. This gives me some hope that my faith in the fact mankind can be saved is not, as I’ve often supposed, ill founded.
On the topic of faith, here’s an interesting debate between philosophers.
For some reason this didnt post immediately, sorry for the delay.
Eureka. Never have older words rung so true…’cept maybe the Bible. (I kid). I recommend a book called “The End Of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future Of Reason” by Sam Harris. Same basic premise…It does no one any good to simply “accept” the beliefs of others, you’ve gotta call a moron a moron once in a while.