I have mixed feelings about religious people, mainly because I have had mixed experiences with religious people, mainly because religious people are so damn mixed. Some very rough numbers put the number of religious people (technically, people who picked a religion on a recent survey) in the US at around 255 million, so there’s probably nothing that they all have in common besides being religious. And being human beings.
The problem is that “being religious” can affect people in very different ways. Some people will pray while their loved ones are in surgery, some will pray instead of letting their loved ones go to surgery, or get a blood transfusion, or sometimes even get an oral vaccine. Some people don’t support abortion and will talk about it with their friends over dinner, and some people will kill abortion doctors or bomb clinics.
Depending on how entrenched a person is in his or her beliefs, that person can range from a quasi-religious suburbanite who Attends Church On Sundays and prays before bedtime to a megalomaniacal money-sucking fraud.
I’ve personally always felt bad for religious people, because I think the majority of them are trapped, or at least feel that way. They’ve heard so much about their religion from so many people that they know and trust and love and fear that they have to believe it. They get solace from church and prayer, even if it’s not really doing anything, and don’t know where to get that elsewhere. Or even that it can be had elsewhere. They don’t know where else to make friends, or how else to be a part of a community. They have been lied to their entire lives. But I can’t even be mad at the people lying to them, because they believe it too. It’s everywhere.
Some religious people are mean, some are nice, some don’t let it affect them, some do only to the point of being annoying about it. Some haven’t really thought about it. Some are actually angry, or malicious, or even violent about their beliefs, but it’s because they believe them. And in that respect they have been conned. It’s not their fault. They’re all wrong—every one of them—but I’d hesitate to call them stupid.
This woman is an exception. Watch the video all the way through.
That woman is deluded, yes. But it’s so much more than that. The things she’s saying make so little sense that it’s nearly impossible to address them. This happens every time some catastrophe (and I’m not sure this can even be called that) happens. The birds fell from the sky because we allowed gay people not to lie about being gay people? Here’s some issues I have with that.
- Gay people in every other context in this country are legally allowed to be open about it. Why wait till the military allowed it?
- Why is openness the problem? God already knew they were gay, why not do something about it before now?
- Why kill the blackbirds? Were they gay? If God’s so damn pissed off by all this, why didn’t he, I don’t know, kill all the gay people?
- And lastly, why do people think God would be so fucking vague about these kinds of signals? Picture God’s thought processes here.
“Let’s see, some people in Washington said that other people stationed all over the world can’t be honest about being gay. I already knew they were gay, but before, if they told anyone that, they’d get fired, at which point they’d promptly tell everyone anyway and probably get more attention for it. Now, though, they can stay in one place, go about their day-to-day lives, and tell fewer people about it, and that really pisses me off. But how do I let them know that I’m upset? OH HEY I KNOW, I’ll kill 5,000 of the 150 million members of a certain type of bird that doesn’t have symbolic meaning and that no one cares about and that farmers are actually encouraged to kill by the hundreds anyway. That’ll show them.”
Really? That’s what he’s using to show his wrath?
You know what God did when Adam and Eve sinned?
Punished all humankind forever.
Know what he did when humans fucked up in the days of Noah?
KILLED FUCKING EVERYTHING.
Remember what he did when some townspeople tried to rape angels in Sodom?
RAINED FIRE FROM THE MOTHERFUCKING SKY.
Lot’s wife looked back while he was doing that, and guess what happened to her?
The people of Egypt, just because their pharaoh was a dick?
Ten plagues, then dead.
The soldiers of Egypt who were chasing Moses, presumably because they had been told to do so?
Here, have a FUCKING OCEAN on your head.
Hell, God gave Job hideous boils and killed everything he owned and also his whole family, and Job didn’t even do anything. That was just Satan egging God on.
And now, rather than simultaneously striking down every homosexual in the world, or burning the White House to the ground with lightning, or writing letters of fire in the sky saying “YOU HAVE DISPLEASED ME; PREPARE TO FACE MY WRATH” or anything remotely to the point, he did something that had literally no effect on the human race or the people responsible except to cheer up a bunch of farmers who otherwise would have had to shoot those birds themselves. Seems a little out of character, doesn’t it?
And I know that everyone can immediately pull the ultimate cop-out card, “We don’t know why God does what he does.” Well what’s the fucking point of that? If we’re supposed to be following God’s rules, and spreading his message (for some reason) to our fellow man here on Earth, why would he not just TELL US what to do? You can’t create a species, then tell them that their job is to spread the one and only truth on pain of death, and then not tell them what it is or how to actually spread it.
This is like if your wife told you to take out the garbage, and you didn’t, so she killed an ant and left it on some random other person’s doorstep and then didn’t tell anyone. It’s the mother of all subtle hints, and we know from the story of the Garden that even when we’re told outright not to do something or we’ll definitely die, we still do it. Subtle hints won’t work, and God should know that.
And this is where it becomes an issue of respect and tolerance. Not for gays, that should go without saying because they’re human beings and thus just as inherently worthy of respect as anyone else. For Cindy Jacobs, who is not. See, she deserves a little bit of respect, as does anyone, for being a person. But she is not a reasonable person. I might even argue that she is not a sane person. She is stupid, she is batshit crazy, and she is delusional beyond measure, and as such does not deserve respect. Anyone who can say those things with a straight face has lost their right to be taken seriously in any context, because they clearly have no system for examining what makes sense and what doesn’t. Respect is earned, and she hasn’t earned it.
She also does not deserve to be tolerated, and why should she? What she is saying is at best stupendously idiotic, and at worst it is irrational homophobic paranoia running rampantly through the twisted brain of a woman who has long ago lost her grip on reality. Should we be tolerant of homophobes because “they’re people too”? Should we be tolerant of the Muslims who think that sewing young girls vaginas shut is their duty, or that murdering authors who make fun of them is not only acceptable but necessary, all because “that’s what they believe?” Should we be tolerant of Christians who let their children die because God told them not to get blood transfusions, or Muslims who firebomb schools wherein Christians dare to use the word “Allah,” or Hindus who attack Christians for celebrating Christmas, or Protestants who shoot Catholics for being Catholics, or Hitler for killing millions of Jews because he thought it was his God-given duty?
There will always be people in this world who are determined to avoid reason at all costs. People who think “atheist” and “liberal” and “scientist” are interchangeable and mean “person who wants to take away my guns and corrupt the values my family is built on.” But every advancement that has ever happened to the human race, every piece of technology that has elevated us from hairy beasts in caves to the dazzling array of knowledge we have today, every single thing that has ever contributed to the collective elevation of the human race has come in spite of those people. It has come in spite of the dogma and the fear and the hatred and the insanity, and it will continue to do so. And it will be fought every step of the way by the ignorant masses, the moronic hordes that think that because a man in a robe read to them from a very old book, they know exactly what the Universe wants from them. True progress has been suppressed by the religious for millennia, until the evidence becomes so strong that religious leaders just plug their ears and pick someone else to yell at.
We can move on as a species without those people’s help. We can realize that they will always be there, and we can ignore them as long as they stay our of our way, and we can work around them when they don’t, and we can fight them when that doesn’t work.
But respect them? Tolerate them? Embrace their differences?
I think that your view of religion is incredibly closed-minded.
You fail to realize that there are religious people who do not fit into the box you have put them in. Though there are some crazy people out there who use religion as an excuse for their antics, it does not mean that every single person on the earth who believes in some form of God is that way. And just because someone does not share the same religious beliefs as you does not mean they disagree with you on every other issue, nor does it make them stupid.
As you may have guessed, I believe in God. But I am not as intolerant and repressed as you seem to think.
-I am pro choice.
-I support equal rights and have attended many pride festivals.
-I do not think that the bible should be taken literally and it is my opinion that many of its passages, especially those of the Old Testament are absolutely preposterous.
-I do not believe that two nations should ever go to war over religion.
-I don't believe that my lifestyle is right for everyone.
-I do not think that everyone else should share my beliefs, and would be very sad if they did, seeing as how it would make the world much less diverse and interesting.
-I find it hard to understand that some people don't believe in evolution, and think that one day the human race all suddenly appeared here out of nowhere.
-I don't think you are sinning for not believing in God.
-I agree with you 100% that that woman is a whackjob.
I believe the things that I do because I feel them in my heart, not because someone in a white robe told me to. I actually resented the fact that I had been raised in religion, and did not want to believe in something just because I had heard about it from others for so long. I went through a period of atheism in which I believed that every practicing religious person in the world was a complete dolt. But I witnessed something that made me believe that there is a God, whatever form he, she or it may take. You have every right to think that my belief is stupid, but just because I have that belief does not make me a stupid person.
I believe that because we have the freedom of worship, we also have the freedom not to worship. I am in no way trying to make you believe the things that I do, I am just trying to argue the point that if you use lack of respect and intolerance as arguments against religion, it is both illogical and hypocritical to say that you will not respect nor tolerate religious people as a whole.
And to be clear, I agree with what you say about there being some crazy people out there, who hide behind their bibles and spout off uneducated rubbish or commit acts of violence in the name of God, but that does not mean that every practicing religious person is like that. It makes you come off as quite prejudice for saying so, which is ironic since it seems that a big problem you have with religion is the prejudice it can inspire.
Ok, that's a bit of a long comment, but I'm willing to address it. First, pointing out that there are awful, stupid religious people is not closed-minded. What's closed-minded is to just shove those people into the “not real Christians” box and ignore that there are a hell of a lot of people who think like this woman.
Second, the “box” that I put religious people in is maybe best summarized with the OH LOOK IT'S THE SECOND SENTENCE where I say, “there's probably nothing that they all have in common besides being religious.” That is literally the opposite of stereotyping, so wherever you're getting your righteous indignation, it's not from me. Next point. Just because someone's religious does not mean they're stupid, that's true. But the very fact that someone claims a religion means they have accepted something on faith, and that's all I need to know. Faith is not a virtue, it is a vice. It means that you have accepted something as true without evidence that that is the case, and that's irrational and unacceptable.
As to your laundry list. Do you think they vindicate you, and vicariously others, from the fallacy and inherent absurdity of religion? They either mean that you're at odds with the authority figures in your religion or with the religion itself, and that may be noble but it's also disingenuous to pick and choose like that.
– So you're pro-choice. That means you've decided, against the opinion of the religious majority, that fetuses aren't equal humans to adults. Bravo, but how do you reconcile that with your faith?
– So you've been to pride parades, that doesn't earn you tolerance rights. the fact of the matter is that the Bible is unequivocal about the fact that homosexuality is a sin. If you think it is, I respect you less. If you don't, then again you have some explaining to do.
– Again you disagree with millions, even billions of religious people. Why don't you think the Bible should be taken literally? On what grounds? And why are those grounds more valid than theirs? I agree that it's preposterous, but then I don't claim to live my life based on its tenets.
– I agree, but again THE BOOK DOES NOT. There are only two ways to impart moral lessons: example and instruction. In both categories, the Bible condones religions warfare, even genocide.
– Your humility does not excuse anything.
– You're at odds with the book again. Your religion, as do all, claims to be the one and only truth. The only solution, the only way to salvation. The single, solitary answer to the questions of the world. If you believe that, then you should want me to share that belief because it's TRUE. If you don't believe that, then you're a Christian by name only.
– Again, the book disagrees with evolution. They're irreconcilable.
– You SHOULD think I'm sinning for not believing in God. Whether you feel comfortable judging me or not, the Bible is ABSOLUTELY UNEQUIVOCAL about that. Again, you've got some explaining to do.
– At last we agree on something.
I feel like I shouldn't even have to explain these things, but a feeling in your heart is not a rational justification for thinking something. Children absolutely believe that Santa Claus is real, and are convinced otherwise not by feelings but by evidence and facts. I would never say that you're stupid for believing, but I do think you're ignorant and irrational, because you haven't really examined why you think what you think and why that belief is better or more true than the dozens that conflict with it.
The freedom to worship or not is not up for debate, it's a fact. And my intolerance of religion comes from the arrogance and intolerance that religion itself allows and even demands.
I'd really like to talk about this further, so please email me if you want to keep talking about it.
I have done so, and am eagerly awaiting your response.