I re-posted this image on facebook: When people ask why I have a problem with religion...

Which has triggered the following argument with my Catholic Parents:

  • Dad: Yep. Pretty much sums up all of us religious nuts
  • Carol Rene Foley Sarcasm is a knee-jerk reaction. This is ugly stuff, I'm not saying every religious person is this way, but this stuff propagated by religion makes me sick. People shouldn't be allowed to say that their religion gives them a pass to be a monster.
  • Mom posts something she later deletes, it is sarcastic and calls the image atheist propaganda·
  • Carol Rene Foley It isn't propaganda, they are news articles. Sharia law is a real thing, the degradation of women and homosexuals is a real thing, the abuse of children is a real thing. I'm not sucked in by this stuff, I'm infuriated. There is nothing that separates men and women of any creed, race or sexual preference that suggests they should be treated as lesser citizens, but people with authority keep suggesting that there is.
  • Mom: dump it all into the basket that its a religion problem is propaganda. I'm not talking about the issues.. AND I think YOU know that. But because you don't... I will delete...
  • Mom: @Dad, stop being a religious nut.
  • Dad: My reaction was not knee-jerk. I've seen this so many times where someone uses religious extremism as an indictment on religion. They aren't the same thing. They are easily separated when you look at the good that comes from religion. The Taliban and Westboro Baptist Church aren't the only game in town, Rabbit.
    (Mom "Likes" this )
  • Carol Rene Foley Dad, I didn't say that they were the only game in town, but when there are so many disgusting infringements then perhaps it is time that we reassess that which we hold in such high esteem. When those who claim moral authority can behave so nauseatingly we should stop expecting others to permit their behavior based on their scriptural interpretation. Religious moderates love to get angry at being lumped in with these assholes but these guys are just taking another spin on the same books as the moderates. The Bible tells you to stone your disobedient son, the torah says that raped women are dishonored adulteresses who should be stoned to death. The fact that moderates believe that their religion is cut from a different cloth as extremists means nothing to me since moderates never slap down the extremists. Moderates will blame atheists for the state of insanity before they look at their brothers of the book. Even now, instead of expressing mutual disgust at these crimes against humanity you focus on the anti-religious nature of the post. You don't pause and think, "Those sick monsters," you tell me that I am not giving religion a fair shake.

How old do I have to be before my parents stop acting as if all our disagreements stem from my youth? I'm almost 30 dammit!

Views: 560

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on January 18, 2012 at 11:15pm

I think you expressed yourself as well as was possible under the circumstances.  I would stand behind any of your statements, and I'm proud you are out there representing sanity.

Comment by Bennett Reid Golden on January 19, 2012 at 12:06am

Bravo, Carol. Well said.

Comment by Okinawa R. on January 19, 2012 at 12:28am

nicely said.

at least you are having an ongoing argument, on the other hand...i'm unable to do the same with my parents.

since the last time my mom said that she should treat her children harsher after i stand on my ground for not believing the wizard up there...i have lost my respect to her..i still love her but...well you get the point.

and i'm also nearly 30...and she still treats me like a kid...yay for eastern tradition = _ =

Comment by Albert Bakker on January 19, 2012 at 1:50am

Oh, that isn't eastern tradition, it's biological tradition.

But Carol, you are eloquent, articulate, extremely bright and right and therefore threatening. And now you're showing this long, long list of indefensible and atrocious expressions of devout religiosity.

So now I'll be speculating, because I don't know you or your parents, but they seem like nice and good folk and did a good job of raising you I am convinced. So they are religious and they are good people and they are appalled like any sane person when confronted with such sickness and don't want to identify with these monsters. And of course obviously they shouldn't. Something has to give. Psychologically they are now forced to disown this fundamentalism, but keep the religion intact. Bringing in a wall of separation between wrong religious extremism and the good ordinary religion seems like a plan. That would imply they have nothing to do whatsoever with these psycho's the other side of the wall.

But this is of course a mental construct, no such sharp boundary exists. It is much more like a continuum with positive feedback of mostly bad ideas, with their not being taken too seriously on the one side of the spectrum and they're being fanatically held and brought into practice at the other side of the spectrum. 

Even when accepting this, a further misconception would consist herein that identifying yourself with being on the good side of the spectrum is the truly mitigating factor. (If only they would all be like me.) And therefore by virtue of recognizing this distinction alone, enough psychological distance is created so as to justify disowning these fundie fruitcakes and now a horizontal wall has been put in place. Of course they are even more easily traversable than the vertical variety.

Those are manifestations of devout religiosity, it is a problem of religion and it is a problem that is being accommodated by the religious moderates by denying the undeniable, which is that the indefensible truly is part of their religion and maybe even inherently, unavoidably so.

But that this acknowledgement is really, really scary is something one must I think always recognize, though not always be too pussyfooted, but nevertheless and the more so when one is gifted with comparably overwhelming rhetorical skills and has all the facts and reason on one's side also.

Comment by redpepper on January 19, 2012 at 9:37am

I liked the composition too, and I agree that it’s points are important, but when people ask me why I have a problem with religion, I don’t need extreme situations to make my point.  I think those methods actually diminish the main reason to be atheist.  The composition is good drama, but not the point for me.  I have a problem with religion because it isn’t logical, not because there are some really bad people who practice it.    

As for your parents, they are your parents.  You’re not likely to get an unbiased exchange with them, not even when you’re almost 60.  You know them ALMOST as well as they know you, so it can’t be a surprise that they respond to your post in a personal way.  The post refers to “religion” in general, but specifies the ugliest aspects of it.  The same tactic could be used for anti-atheism, and would seem as unfair to an atheist.  Your parents have religion, presumably not unknown to you.  That illustration IS an indictment on religion, as your dad said, and it IS propaganda, as your mom said.  Don’t get hung up on criticisms of methods used to promote an idea with which you agree (this is one example of how “those methods diminish the main reason to be atheist”).  But don’t expect religious people to see your point.  If they could do that, they’d understand your atheism without the pictures.   You dropped a bomb that you had to know would impact your parents.  When you didn’t like their reaction, you told them how you wished they’d react.  Be the almost-30 year old you are and rise above it.  Accept them for who they are, and go on with your own life. 

Comment by Mabel on January 19, 2012 at 9:46am

I'm wondering if your parents would consider taking the time to make up a collage of propaganda that makes atheists look bad? Then the discussion could go from there. I doubt anything they could come up with would be anywhere near as poignant as the picture you posted.

Comment by Steve on January 19, 2012 at 10:03am

The so-called "good Christians" or "moderates" effectively do little but give indirect support and a foundation to the crazy ones. The respect they demand is immediately applied to everyone. There is also a lot of harm done at the boundaries between the extremists and the "normal" ones. And that harm usually doesn't get a lot of attention. Like the intense shame and guilt heaped on people in most churches - especially about things like sexuality.

We're also at the point where the bad easily outweighs the good. Yes, religion does some good things for some people. But it's nothing that couldn't be achieved by other means. Just replace it with something that makes sense and that's rooted in reason instead of mythology

Comment by Gideon Jagged on January 19, 2012 at 12:19pm

I'm 48 and I still can't dodge the occasional argument with my dad about this.  He's 75 and a staunch Catholic-bordering-on-Fundie.  Accepting his opinion of why I am an Atheist was the only way I could stop being furious with him.

Hope that helps a little.

--Gideon

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 19, 2012 at 12:41pm

I reposted it on Facebook too, and of my 113 'friends' no one said anything, up down or indifferent. I think the majority of them have become desensitized to my rants.  Most of them are believers, too. Maybe FB doesn't inform me when I've been 'de-friended'...

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 19, 2012 at 12:42pm

and also your situation is reason #917 not to 'friend' parents

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