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Deeply Offensive March 28, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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I have heard this phrase tossed about in debates and discussions over religious beliefs, or the lack of religious beliefs. My bias tends to see the phrase tossed at atheists more often than the other way around. “When you attack Christianity, it is deeply offensive to Christians.” This is an example of something I might read in the forums and blogs. What exactly does the phrase “deeply offensive” really mean though?

It’s not hard to agree that there are grades of offensive. A sentiment can easily be more or less offensive, perhaps on a sliding scale from least to most. The problem though, is that I don’t see many atheists spewing real hatred or vitriol in their dialogues. I know it happens, but it is certainly a minority of atheists who are just mean and hateful people. I think that when someone uses the phrase “deeply offensive”, it is a way of trying to dissuade or belittle a person for attacking or not respecting their personal beliefs.

Personal beliefs are not something that deserve respect. Let me repeat that. You personal opinions and beliefs do not deserve respect. Respect must be earned. And it is not earned by holding a belief! Earning respect for your beliefs is actually very easy. Rule number one; don’t expect respect. If you hold a personal belief, such as a belief in a particular god, it will not be respected by everyone. In fact, some people who believe in a different god will be offended! Yes, offended!

I am not personally offended by peoples personal god beliefs. I am offended when they use those beliefs to act or behave in a way that is superior to other humans. You see, when you are “deeply offended” by one who doesn’t agree with your personal beliefs, then you must feel that you are superior to them, or you must feel that they think they are superior to you in some way. Why else would something be deeply offensive? If a Muslim does not believe that Jesus is God, then should a Christian be deeply offended? I don’t think so. I think the Christian should go on believing that Jesus is God. The Muslim could be deeply offended that Christians are placing a human as a god!

Deeply offensive, when it comes to personal religious beliefs is a very weak position for a true believer to take. It directly challenges their beliefs. It makes the believer appear to be unsure of their own beliefs, to the point that they must proclaim they are “deeply offended”. On the other hand, as an atheist, I am deeply offended when religion enters into the secular aspects and laws of societies. I am deeply offended when real action is taken on behalf of personal beliefs, such as real hatred and ridicule of homosexuals, or laws that directly exclude certain people from benefits based on personal beliefs. These things are examples of real action on behalf of personal beliefs. You see, atheists are in no religious camps, demanding respect for their personal beliefs. They are simply responding to the real actions taking place throughout the world, where religious dogma interferes with society in a way that is, well, deeply offensive!


Same Sex Marriage March 7, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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The year is 2010. Exactly 4,410 years since the first recorded homosexual couple in history.

From Wikipedia: (Link)

The first recorded homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, an Egyptian male couple, who lived around the 2400 BCE. The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian art, surrounded by what appear to be their heirs.

Certainly there were homosexual relationships prior to that. Homosexuality is generally accepted in modern societies among consensual adults of a legal age (depends on legal ages of the country). What is not accepted is marriage beween these same consenting adults. Yes, progress is being made, but it is still not generally accepted. The question then, is why? What stops governments from enacting equal rights to marriage between couples of the same gender? What is at the core of this issue? Religion.

Of course this is a blog, and I am not an expert, so this is simply my opinion. But honestly, I see no other compelling argument against same sex marriage outside of objections based on religious beliefs, rules, laws, or commandments. I have not heard one single argument that isn’t based on dogma that proclaims some level of moral decay as a result of anything related to same sex marriage. This is where I separate myself from any person who is against same sex marriage.

I have friends who are gay. I speak to them on a regular basis. I have fantastic relationships with these friends for one reason – they are flesh and blood, just like me, and they are close friends. I love them as friends, and I would do anything for them, just as I would any other close friend. That’s what friends are, and that’s what they do. They are not heterosexual, but apart from that, they are literally no different than any other human being. To me, the same sex marriage issue has a face. There are real, kind, friendly, loving people behind this issue. Many are Christians! (yes, gays can believe in Christ, and He accepts them equally as He does anyone else.)

I realize there are plenty of religious groups that support same sex marriage who are just as bothered by the bigotry shown by their fellow believers, but that’s not good enough. Human cultures and societies have changed over time, and while one could believe that things are getting worse, would they be willing to go back to a time in human history where things were supposedly better? They would have to be willing to give up what they have in this modern society and live within the rules and constraints of a time that is more to their liking. How about they go back and live in pre-Biblical times, say prior to 2400 BCE, where there was no recorded history of homosexual relationships?

I didn’t think so.