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Why are the religious so sensitive?
#1
Why are the religious so sensitive?
After watching part one of 'The Four Horsemen' yesterday an interesting point was raised about how deeply offended and angry some religious people get when you question their faith and how society seems to treat religion as somehow more important than other subjects.

For example, if I wrote a book directed towards how strange and pointless I though the whole world of football was, it would certainly get a reaction from football fans but I doubt very much if it would be met with the kind of vitriol, aggression, death threats and emotional outpouring that ensues when books like 'The God Delusion' are released.

The question is, why does religion have this special status where it is generally seen as a terrible taboo to mock, question or even challenge these beliefs?

And it's not just the faithful either, there are even examples of protecting these sensibilities by proxy. I am thinking of such things as organisation banning decorations and trees in their shops at Christmas because it might offend Muslims or Hindus etc. which of course it would not and in many cases does these groups no favours as it simply exaggerates societies perception of extreme sensitivity.
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#2
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
I think deep down every believer knows that their religion is far-fetched. Not impossible, but reasonably doubtable. They wouldn't need faith otherwise, right?

That, combined with the deeply personal nature of religion, means an attack on someone's religion is also an attack on someone's personal flaw.

Another factor might be that religion is typically passed down through a family, meaning an attack on religion might be interpreted (even subconciously) as an attack on their family and it's values.

I'm sorta talking out of my ass though, but that's how I see it.
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#3
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
No, you're quite right. I see religion as being protected by the same part of the brain that wants to protect your close friends and family. It's basically a tribal response and religion takes over the group mentality and hijacks the same feelings that make you feel part of a family.

Therefore, anyone who say anything against your faith is advertising themselves as not being part of your group or tribe and nine times out of ten it is met with some form of hostility and defended to the hilt.
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#4
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
Basically it's like insulting your mother. They take it to heart.

When you believe in something with no evidence and put a lot of faith into something you have to give a lot of trust. And you think what you believe is right.

So you would find it insulting. However I don't think it should have any less criticism than anything else.
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#5
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
I think for anyone to understand on why some theists may be just a little sensitive is to see things from their prospective. They run entirely on faith. Atheists do not and actually challenge their beliefs.

But regardless on how sensitive they are to outside differences, their beliefs are expected to be looked, criticised and question inside and out.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - Carl Sagan

Mankind's intelligence walks hand in hand with it's stupidity.

Being an atheist says nothing about your overall intelligence, it just means you don't believe in god. Atheists can be as bright as any scientist and as stupid as any creationist.

You never really know just how stupid someone is, until you've argued with them.
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#6
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
I agree with all of you, but, Meatball is closer to my thinking. When you question a Christians beliefs you are also questioning his faith. That is one of the reasons I think I wound up getting Black Balled at my church. I would question many events that are written in the Bible that just didn't seem to fit anywhere. I guess to my preacher I was like the little kid on the road trip going..." Are we there yet!, Are we there yet????"

Christians faith is suppose to be unshakable, and NOT waver. Accept all things as God's will, and do not question his actions, or run the risk of his wrath. Christians should NOT have any scientific beliefs that would discredit any writtings in the Bible.

Why are they so sensitive??????
Because they really have NO Clear explanation for some of the things
they ask others to believe, and put thier faith in. When you open your mouth and ask, you rock the boat. Think about it. Your either A believer ( Christian ) or your not.????
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#7
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
I’m new here so I hope you don’t mind me chiming in. I believe in God so I’ll refer to myself as a “theist”: from now on. I came here to challenge my beliefs and knowledge as well as to get a better understanding of atheists and agnostics. If there is any objections to me posting here please let me know. I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted.

(August 25, 2008 at 5:46 pm)Darwinian Wrote: After watching part one of 'The Four Horsemen' yesterday ...
I take it that's a movie? What's it about? Did you like it?
Quote:...an interesting point was raised about how deeply offended and angry some religious people get when you question their faith and how society seems to treat religion as somehow more important than other subjects.
When you say, “question their faith” do you mean that you ask a question which seems to imply their faith is weak or do you mean that you ask a question in which their religion is in question? I’ll assume it’s the later since that seems to be the context in which you mentioned it.

You’re familiar with the adage that you’re asking for trouble when you start talking about either politics or religion, right? When you find the reason why people get angry when they talk about politics then you’ll find the same reason why people get angry when they talk about religion.

Since I‘m not the kind of person to get angry for that reason I can only guess. In my experience people generally get angry when their beliefs and/or opinions/views are questioned. For example, if a Frenchman was to ask me questions about American culture then I might become irritated depending on the kind of question they asked. If I was asked something which seemed to question the quality of American culture then I might get irritated. If someone asked a question which implied that Americans should have universal health care then I would probably agree with them. I guess its like standing up for something that is close and personal to you. If a passerby called one of the neighbors down the road an ugly woman then, if she was really ugly or I didn’t like her, I might agree. But if they were referring to my next-door neighbor who I was very close to then I might get angry. If my friend were to say that the vice-president was an idiot then I might agree. If a foreigner criticized my president then I might get angry. So I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think that this happens only with religion but with things that are personal and/or close to us. Sometimes I hear people insulting theists because they think we’re stupid. I find that irritating myself since its more of a personal attack then a criticism of the things I believe in.
Quote:I think deep down every believer knows that their religion is far-fetched.
That may be true for some theists but I’d have a hard time believing that it is true for all of us. I know its not true in my case, i.e. I don’t have a deep-seated belief that religion is far-fetched.
Quote:They wouldn't need faith otherwise, right?
The term “faith” is often defined as “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”. This is how it’s used when talking about religious beliefs. However there is a caveat when it comes to proof – A lot of people use this term when what they really mean is that they have a very strong reason to believe something is true. For example, when you return something to the store you have to have a proof of purchase. That means that you have to give them a receipt which has the correct price and a date stamp which indicates that the object wasn’t bought before a certain date. The stores accept this as proof that you bought it. However its not that hard to think of a way around it. I.e. you go into the store and go to the place in the store where the objects are on sale. Wait for a person to buy the same thing and then ask them if you can have the receipt. If, from some strange reason, they agree then you can come back later and return the object. An example from science comes to mind. It used to be believed that nuclear decay rates did not change in time. Measurements of the rates showed them to be constant within experimental limits. However there have been some recent developments that indicate that there is a seasonal variation in the decay rates. This came as quite a surprise to physicists. What they thought was proven true was merely a result of not having accurate data. In fact the seasonal variation might be one of the reasons for inaccuracies in the data of decay rates. People think that science has proven things. A good physicist knows that’s not true. At least a physicist that was well versed in the philosophy of science. But that’s pretty rare.
Quote:That, combined with the deeply personal nature of religion, means an attack on someone's religion is also an attack on someone's personal flaw.
I don’t follow. How is this related to personal flaws?
Quote:Basically it's like insulting your mother. They take it to heart.

Actually I find the same thing when it comes to atheists. Have you ever become irritated when people asked you about being an atheist?
Quote:They run entirely on faith. Atheists do not and actually challenge their beliefs.
I also don’t think that this is true in general. It’s also not true in my case. I challenge my beliefs quite often. How about you? If you could admire a person who questions his religion would you also admire a person who challenges his lack of religion?
Quote:Christians faith is suppose to be unshakable, and NOT waver.
Where did you hear that? I believe that a lot of Christians don’t like to admit that they have doubts every now and then. I myself have often started prayers with saying "God, as you know my faith is weak..". After all if I can't be honest with God who could I be honest with? After all he'd know if I was lying or not. lol!

I once asked my pastor (and former pastor) if they ever wondered if there really is a God. They said that sometimes they do. I call that being quite honest.

Pete
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#8
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
Again you have some interesting arguements there Pete, but I had to shake my head when I read this:

(September 1, 2008 at 5:11 pm)Pete Wrote: If you could admire a person who questions his religion would you also admire a person who challenges his lack of religion?

Let me shake up your statement a little with my own special blend of herbs and spices Wink

Quote:If you could admire a person who questions his belief in unicorns would you also admire a person who challenges his lack of belief in unicorns?

My answer is... why would I admire a person who challenges is lack of belief in unicorns? I'd probably call him an idiot for wasting his time. If somebody tells him they believe in unicorns, let *them* prove the existence of unicorns to him.
Atheism as a Religion
-------------------
A man also or woman that hath a Macintosh, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with used and abandoned Windows 3.1 floppy disks: their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:27
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#9
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
Howdy Jason. Thanks for responding.
(September 1, 2008 at 10:15 pm)Jason Jarred Wrote: If you could admire a person who questions his belief in unicorns would you also admire a person who challenges his lack of belief in unicorns?
Hmmmm .... never mind. I forgot that atheists view the question of the existance/non-existance of God to be akin to the existance/non-existance of Humpty Dumpty. Oh well. I came hear to learn more about how atheists think so I gues I'm learning, huh? Big Grin
Quote:My answer is... why would I admire a person who challenges is lack of belief in unicorns? I'd probably call him an idiot for wasting his time. If somebody tells him they believe in unicorns, let *them* prove the existence of unicorns to him.
If the existance of photons can't be proven then why would you expect it to be possible to prove anything else? Scientists don't seek to prove things in their line of work. They know it's impossible. All they can do is to do enough experiments and make enough observations to provide convincing support and verification of their theories and discoveries. But proof is something they can only aim for but never actually accomlish. All they can do is get closer and closer to the ever elusive "truth."

The concept of God was put forth as a real attempt to explain the world around us. We observe life, nature and the universe and when scientists learn more about it they always reveal something more fantasic and see more wonder in nature itself. We are told stories of men and fantastic things which have been passed down for thousands of years by very holy men. If it was passed down by your average Joe then there'd be reason to suspect its validity. Biblical archaeologists make discoveries which verify things in the Bible. Some physicists see the handy work in God in nature and that only contributes to their faith. This has never happened with unicorns to my knowledge. Big Grin

I just don't think that your analogy is a valid one though. There is simply no reason whatsoever to believe that unicorns are exist. Nobody has ever seriously suggested that they have ever existed. Nobody has ever seriouls claimed to see one. People who were clean, sober and sane who have claimed to have seen unicorms have ever been taken seriously. Universities have never given PhDs in unicorn theory. What are the chances of a president who believes in unicorns ever getting elected? No physicist has ever taken unicorn theory seriously. There are no cultures which have claimed that their ancestors rode unicorns or whose stories have been passed down by the tribal priests. Stories of unicorns have not survived several millenia. Three billion people don't exist today who believe that unicorns exist. The stories of unicorns have never been substantiated by unicorn archaeologists. Nobody has ever been given a reason to suspect that unicorns exist. The existance of unicorns would never explain anything. The existance of unicorns would never have an impact on our lives.

By this I mean to say that the existance of unicorns is not on the same level of seriousness as the existance of God. If you think it wise for a theist to keep an open mind to the non-existance of God then why is it so silly to think it wise for an atheist to keep an open mind on the existance of God? Some do. They're called agnostics. Tongue

Let me ask you this - Are you open minded to the existance of tachyons? Do you believe that keeping an open mind to the existance of tachyons would be as silly as keeping an open mind to the existance of unicorns?
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#10
RE: Why are the religious so sensitive?
I started to respond, but then gave up and realised it would take far to long to defend my disbelief in unicorns Big Grin
Atheism as a Religion
-------------------
A man also or woman that hath a Macintosh, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with used and abandoned Windows 3.1 floppy disks: their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:27
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