I find myself having mixed feelings about this idea of “criticize the ideology, not the person” when discussing religion. I guess it’s politically correct to look at it that way, but I wonder if it’s unintentionally disrespectful. On the one hand I get that people are usually born into their religious communities, indoctrinated from a young age, and experience serious difficulties rethinking that whole worldview. I have been through that, as have many people on this site. We have used evidence and reason to arrive at the conclusion that belief in gods cannot be supported.
But on the other hand, if we did it, why can’t they? Why do we not credit them with the same capacity for reason and self-examination and change, and therefore hold them responsible when they don’t use it?
When we say we should criticize the ideology and not the person, aren’t we in effect saying, “Don't blame them; blame their holy book instead. Those poor simple people just don’t have the mental ability we have or the strength to follow through. They are unable to think for themselves or act on their own behalf. They are victims.”?
It seems condescending. It seems arrogant. It seems like a back-handed way of congratulating ourselves for being more clever and superior.