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Entry 1122, on 2009-11-24 at 20:02:20 (Rating 4, Comments)
Why are so many Christians and conservatives of various types so bigoted? Why are they so totally convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong? Its a very dangerous attitude for anyone to have and its made worse by the fact that Christianity and conservatism have so many just plain bad beliefs which are in need of more examination and criticism rather than less.
According to the dictionary a bigot is someone who is obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of his own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions. This fits perfectly with a friend who I have been debating with recently who has been distributing misleading (and often just plain wrong) information against Muslims.
He makes the same old claims which have never stood up to any scrutiny in the past: western countries being based on Christianity, Muslims being incapable of being citizens of a modern democracy because of their extreme beliefs, the superiority of the Christian worldview, and the political right being more in touch with reality than the left.
Its all garbage. Modern democracies are based on Greek ideas, not Christian. When western civilisation was more based on Christianity we had a period of history called the Dark Ages. Has everyone forgotten this? Democracy isn't a strong theme in the Bible but it is a feature of Greek philosophical thought. If we did base our culture on the Bible we would live in a very confused, backward, and unfair society. Why would we want that?
Muslims extremists probably cannot fit in to a modern society but the vast majority of moderates can. I am not a great supporter of the Islamic religion (or political system) but I do realise that it is believed by a significant proportion of the world's population. Just rejecting it and refusing to try to find a compromise solution seems to be more likely to create conflict and that may be what some conservatives want, but they will usually not admit it.
Christianity has been responsible for more deaths, misery, and repression than any other belief system I can think of. Look at history: murdering people with opposing religious views, persecuting and murdering intellectuals who disagreed with them, the crusades, the extermination of Jews, witch burning, the inquisitions, religious warfare, and modern genocide. No other belief system comes close to being as evil as Christianity so they have no right to claim the moral high ground in any way.
I agree that the extreme left are pretty loony but so are the extreme right. Rejecting any idea just because it originates from a liberal perspective is just plain ignorant. Many conservatives refuse to accept compromise and seem to have no perspective on political beliefs apart from their own form of extremism. Rejecting alternative ideas out of habit rather than for good reason is no way to improve any political situation.
Its just the intensity of the hate that many of these people exhibit which worries me. I have several fundamentalist Christian friends and the sort of stuff I hear from them, and their associates who have similar beliefs, is just sickening. It really destroys the notion that Christianity is a religion of forgiveness and tolerance.
There's probably no hope that conservatives will ever look at the world in a fair and objective way and see that there perspective isn't really the only one which is worth considering. Cherry picking the evidence and ignoring inconvenient facts will always convince them that their imaginary world is real. The only hope for a better world is for the decline of religion to continue and for future generations to be a bit more moderate in their political beliefs.
Comment 1 (2563) by Anonymous on 2009-11-24 at 20:18:38:
I must share this: The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion. - Arthur C. Clarke
Comment 2 (2564) by OJB on 2009-11-25 at 11:07:40:
Thanks, I have that one in my collection of quotes as well. I don't think its necessarily true that religion controls morality in many places today because we have moved on, but when religion did control it the world was a much worse place.
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