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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!

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1. Savage Garden – Truly Madly Deeply | Garden Bird Feeders - March 28, 2010

[…] Deeply Offensive « Jet Blog […]

2. bradley - May 4, 2010

Greetings Jetson.

As a christian I can say that I don’t get deeply offended by mocking. I do consider the person to be rude… but some people are just rude.

I wonder a little about you being “deeply offended when religion enters into the secular aspects of law of societies.” Is it just strictly “God-driven” decision making that bothers you? Or is it any influence in someone’s life that might guide law-makers?

It just makes me think about the politicians that run ads during a campaign that start with things like, “My papa always taught me the value of hard work…” … or “Growing up, we always struggled to make ends meet, but with determination and perseverance…” …

…but if someone stood up and said, “As a Christian i appreciate the value of a second chance, the power of forgiveness, and the need to help our neighbor…” Now that’s way over the line, right? I feel a little deeply offended myself, Jetson. Man… it makes me wonder about other things I might be offending others with, like when I express the importance of strong role models for our kids. whew…

Jetson - May 5, 2010

Nothing that you stated in your examples bothers me, even as an atheist. It’s when people say things like “The Bible strictly forbids homosexual behavior, therefore, as a Christian, I think marriage between homosexuals should be illegal.”

Huge difference. And in the case of same-sex marriage, I have yet to hear one single argument that is not based on some Bible based scripture.

3. bradley - May 5, 2010

Ok, very well… but honestly, what difference does the reason make? What would be a good reason to oppose it? Anything?

I’m rather confused. You say you’re offended by religion entering law-making but nothing in my previous statement offends you? Then, you seem offended, not by the case at hand of opposition to same-sex marriage, but rather the person presenting the case. Are you singling out Christians to restrict our decision making?

Pardon me, but that sounds far more discriminatory than treating homosexuals and heterosexuals absolutely identical. I mean, don’t feel bad gay-folks, the government won’t let me marry another dude either…

Jetson - May 6, 2010

The reason makes a huge difference. There are many Christians who are perfectly happy leaving their religion and beliefs in the Church, where it belongs. Bringing religious ideologies into secular societies is what I am against. In other words, it’s perfectly OK for individuals to believe in whatever god makes them the happiest, but when they bring any of that religion into secular societies laws, for example, it is inherently wrong.

Let me ask you this; should we allow Sharia law into the laws of the United States? Should Muslim beliefs, as many claim are dictated by their god and holy book, be allowed into the laws of our secular nation, simply because they are Muslim and many Muslims believe in them?

4. bradley - May 6, 2010

The reason has absolutely zero bearing on the action. You are attacking the thought instead of the action… the freedom instead of the law… the indirect instead of the direct. You’re presenting probably the most illogical argument I’ve read in a long time.

I don’t care which god, community, trend, or club demands a law to govern our actions. If I oppose the law, I’ll oppose the law. If I support the law, I’ll support the law. You see how freeing it is to not be manipulated into forced ideology when stop trying to control other people?

The way you write, you strike me as someone who would call a Muslim a camel-jockey. Are you a racist also? Do you hate Muslims just because they are Muslims?

5. Jetson - May 6, 2010

I can understand what you are saying, but I disagree with you. All actions start with thoughts. Those thoughts, driven by ancient mythology, can and have led to laws, for example (not to mention wars and genocide), that are discriminating on behalf of the ideology itself.

Yes, many people may agree with the thought behind the action, but in the example of placing Sharia law into American society, while many Muslims might enjoy it, many Americans would not tolerate having their women be told how to live their lives.

I am in no way a racist, but I am extremely sensitive to the actions, based on thoughts, taken by those with fundamentally extreme religious views, and I will never tolerate their completely unnecessary existence in modern society. And I’m not talking about the people, I’m talking about the actions, based on the thoughts of those people.

6. bradley - May 6, 2010

Right. You are the Thought-Police. You are the official sayer of what people can think. It appears as though it is not enough that we subject the freedom of our actions, we must relinquish the freedom of our thoughts? It’s not enough that we elect those we wish to represent us, but we must stifle those we don’t?

I realize that you don’t agree with me. That’s why I’m passionately evangelical. You are describing an ugly world where Man controls each other…. and not only enslaving each other’s actions, but each other’s thoughts apparently.

You seem like a person that wants to fight against tyranny and oppression, but I think you are a little misled with which side you are choosing to join. Attempting to silence individualism is an evil thing.

7. Jetson - May 6, 2010

I think this is getting away from the main topic a bit…

I said in my blog that I am offended when people use their beliefs to act or behave in a way that is superior to other humans. In other words, if a Christian pretends to have some moral superiority over a non-Christian, that deserves no respect, and is offensive to those non-Christians. Not to mention entirely wrong and unnecessary.

So, if it helps at all, I will say that this applies to everyone, no matter their religious beliefs, or lack of. I am not claiming superiority over others at all, and I will admit that I may not have communicated that to your satisfaction. I don’t want to exercise “control” over anyone or anything. I don’t believe I said anything to this effect in my blog.

8. bradley - May 6, 2010

Man, if only you were willing to believe in God. You’re perfect for Christianity. You seem to dislike the exact same things Jesus did.

Oh well…

Jetson - May 6, 2010

I assume you are Christian – if not, apologies. If you are Christian, do you honestly believe that you are morally superior in any way to non-Christians?

Jesus was a prophet who came to bring the Kingdom of God to humanity. He was a supporter and believer in the Old Testament, and the idea that in his time, the Kingdom of God would arrive.

He was then promptly arrested and executed as a common criminal by Roman authorities. The writers of the OT prophesied a messiah, a new King that would bring peace to the Jews, the chosen people of God. Christianity did nothing short of hijacking the intent and goals of Jesus, and turned it into something that Jesus would barely recognize today.

9. bradley - May 6, 2010

I agree 100% with part of that, if that makes any sense.

Jesus would barely recognize the injustices carried out in his name, the flaming sword of righteousness that has been wielded in his name, the deceptive thievery advertised in his name, the hate spewed in his name, and the growing trend in propaganda of fallacy about his name. I agree.

But, there’s nothing but good that comes from following Christ. It’s not always easy and we don’t always get it right, but do you really want to do away with Christ’s teachings? Would you really like the inverse of its content to be realized?


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