Saturday, December 01, 2007

culture wars

I came across this blog.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/11/religion_kills.php

It's a rant of sorts about a 14 year old boy who refused medical treatment, based on his religious beliefs, and died.

"Religion is child abuse. It strips kids of the critical reasoning abilities that can save their lives. His crazy aunt killed him as surely as if she had beat him to death with a baseball bat." (His aunt is a Jehova's Witness)

Comments to this included:

"The judge is an accessory to murder."

"...the Judge is culpable and should be tried himself..."

"The parent have just killed their own child, it is child abuse."

"No matter what, that aunt deserves to be burned at the stake. I'll hold judgement on the judge - it could be he was protecting civil liberties and isn't exactly a fundie. I don't have enough information. But if he's a fundie who thinks the kid was "righteous" to do this and Jeebus will protect him, then he should exit the judicial system most rickytick."

"I will not let my son be infected by the disease that is religion.
It ruins the mind. What that woman did is child abuse.
And the judge is an coward."

"All religions at one point stop people from thinking rationally (or they want people not to think)."

"Speaking of religion killing, in light of recent events in the Sudan, I have renamed my ball python (formerly "Snakers") Mohammed. Cruel stupidity should always have consequences. Let the backlash begin."

"...whether or not some unprovable sky pixie will smile upon him if he forgoes medical care."

"I don't need some holier then thou preacher that molests little boys telling ME how to live MY life."

I was troubled when I read all this. I would probably like and get along well with most of those who wrote comments in response to the posting in this "science blog." Yet, look at what they think about religion and religious people. Tbere is no understandng or recognition that religious people could be anything except fundamentalists, Jehovah's Witnesses and the like.

So how does it come to be that these people don't know that there are religious people in the world who are not creationists, who are not against stem cell research and are not demanding that science pass religious screenings?

And Shouldn't we be concerned about that?

I think so.

First, it's not fun to be treated poorly because someone thinks that we are something that threatens them. My daughter is heading off for college this next fall. How will it be with her if some people on campus (say some professor in a biology or chemistry class), hearing that she is a Quaker, will treat her with contempt, assuming that she is something she is not, that she poses a threat to them?

Second, the fact that people think that religion is about this kind of thing keeps them from exploring their own spirituality.

It's probably not appropriate to use the word too much but the "popular" sense that fundamentalism as exemplified by the religious right is "religion" is a result of blasphemy. The characterization of God presented by the likes of Jerry Fallwell et. al. (e.g., God punishes American with hurricanes because of gays and abortions), is patently absurd and transparently political. Yet, many believe that this is "religion" and they want no part of it.

We in the liberal domain of the Religious Society of Friends do not evangelize and it would not serve us well to do that. Yet, I wonder, how can we project a different face of religion to the world beyond our hedge?

There have been times when the Society was concerned about presenting the truth about itself to the outside world because it felt threatened. This is less important to me (although, as I write, above, I am also concerned about it). More important, I think, is the fact that so many people are deprived of the opportunity to benefit from the Light.

There is no doubt that there is a "culture war" going on. We are not exempt from this struggle and it would not serve us well to be thought of by each side as a manifestation of the (distorted view they have of the) other. Perhaps we are among those who will step forward to promote our "peculiar" testimonies in this situation.

Aside from the view of religion expressed in this blog, I am troubled by the nastiness of the tone. I am certain that the point of view of the so called christian right cannot prevail--it is divisive and promotes alienation. It is an attempt to fight against evil with evil means of manipulation, control and oppression--not to mention suppression of truth in favor of myth. In dividing its own house (all of us) it will inherit the wind.

We cannot expect to divide the house and receive any other legacy.

1 comment:

ajaxhatcher said...

Timothy

The mainstream churches have the same problem presenting their moderate religiousity and minimal bogosity. I don't think they've solved it. It seems they keep losing adherents to the evangelicals, fundies, alternative groups and non-adherents.

Do you know what they've done to address this? Do we have mainstream Christian friends to ask?

Is the problem deeper than publicity and community presence?

Jay T.