I do  not believe in god or the fables  in the bible, mainly because  there is  no way to prove  any of it.....I therefore  consider  myself  an Atheist...............Since  I have joined  A/N  I have found  many who not only are Non Believers ,like myself, but who criticize ethnic cultures  different  from their own.....As a  Free Thinker, I try to respect  other cultures  that I do not  understand.........There are some strange rituals performed  by some which are perfectly  normal  to them  but  are difficult  for others  to comprehend.....Isn't that  why  people  travel  to different lands to learn  other peoples  customs?.....When we go to their land  should we  try to tell them  that what they are doing  is wrong and should  be  forbidden?  Absolutely not,  unless you do not value  your life............My point is that being an Atheist should only be  related to not Believing  in Theism.....Why are  so many of us  trying  to tell others  with  different  ethnic  backgrounds  how they should  live their lives........I am particularly referring  to the procedure done  to infant  boys  of the Jewish culture known as circumcision......It has been accepted  in the Jewish culture and performed  for thousands  of years.....Yet many consider  it a form of torture without  acknowledging  the fact it is  a common  procedure for Jews......Today, some Jews  are  questioning  it.....That is their right.....Others do not have that right  to  tell a Jew  what  they can and should  do......It is  something  that has  to be  decided  within  the Jewish  Community..........It is like  calling a Black the N word which  is  very demeaning and yet  some  call their own  kind  the N word  but it is ok.......Respect for another's  culture  is the only way  we can  all get along  and live  together.......Being  an Atheist does not give us the right  to disrespect rituals  performed by others and to cast  judgement  on them......  

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Actually, I do have the right to show my disrespect and revulsion of other "traditions" and "customs."  Just who in the f$^k laid down the law for me to state that my freedom of speech is prohibited by the possibility that I may hurt someone's feelings? You don't like what I have to say about the barbarity of your cultural "traditions" that go back to the bronze and iron age mutilations and human degredations? Like, oh hell I don't know, maybe human sacrifice. scapegoating, bodily human scarification and mutilation. Really?! If your feelings hurt that bad, buy some Vagisil! (Sorry, not trying to be mysoginistic here, but you get the point - hopefully)

Like I'm supposed to put up with this shit?! Or the same phony persecution complex from Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and any other sect that mutilates, murders, and destroys everything in its path. Sorry, on my watch, it ain't happening. 

Pat, I join you with full vigor in speaking up and out when my freedom of speech is violated. It is not only my right to speak out, it is my obligation. I was given a mind with which to think, a mouth with which to speak, and vocal chords with which to form words. If I put a cap on any one of these functions, I am not living to my full potential, and neither are you.

Attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values are constructs created in the minds of men and open to honest scrutiny. Again, it is our right and our obligation to be discerning and speak our truth. 

G.B. Shaw was spot on:

"Pardon him, Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

Caesar and Cleopatra, Act II

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From another source I read that Arabs also have practiced circumcision since "the time of Abraham."  It's supposed to be a sacred compact between the Semitic tribes and their crazy deity...and has NOTHING special to do with "Jewishness."

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And as far as "insults" go, nobody has to accept them.  The fact that the Islamic believers are so easily offended is a sign that they are terribly insecure about their belief system.  They need to learn to laugh at the world, and especially at themselves. (But their leaders will never allow that.)

Felaine, I like your statement: 

"learn to laugh at the world, and especially at themselves."

Here is a hat tip to you sk8eycat

Same back atcha! 

I was impressed with your comments on the old practice of foot-binding in China (because once upon a time an Empress was born with deformed feet, so ALL Chinese women....except peasants... had to be deliberately crippled.  Gack!), and the Islamic practice of making women hide themselves in sacks.  I like your term, "pillowcases."  So that MEN will not be "turned on" by the sight of female features....

What does that say about Islamic MEN?

Male circumcision is nothing more than a currently acceptable form of mutilation, from where I sit.  That acceptability is being challenged by those of us who recognize that the practice is nothing more than a meaningless religious ritual in the vast majority of cases.  There are those instances where the foreskin may be removed because of personal discomfort or some other abnormality, but such cases are very much in the minority.  The fact is that it is an unnecessary assault on the male person.  Whether or not it has a later impact on the person is immaterial.

I still remember an episode of MASH wherein Hawkeye Pierce opts to perform an unneeded appendectomy on an overly aggressive Army officer, in order to force his retirement from the field and reduce the excessive casualties incurred by his outfit.  Hawkeye's friend and associate, B. J. Hunnicutt, expresses his utter disgust at what he rightly sees as mutilation in response.  The Hippocratic Oath's most important phrase is: "Do no harm."  The removal of undiseased tissue, especially in the case of a patient who cannot decide for himself, is harm of a most pernicious sort.

Sadly, too few doctors in that day or this can see their way clear that a different form of mutilation, done for religious reasons, is no less egregious.

@Loren

Now there's a judgment.

Care to quantify specifically HOW I "discredit atheists?"  All I am doing is stating FACT, which is my primary method of arguing against religion and its usages.  One immutable fact is that the use of a knife under medical auspices to remove tissue without objective need or purpose has a term associated with it in their profession: MUTILATION, like it or not.  A doctor accused of such under any other circumstances is in deep trouble, both in terms of his or her credibility and/or license to practice.  Yet the practice of circumcision, because of its religious sanction, has been done almost without thought for centuries, indeed millennia.

I and others are calling both the believers and those who implement this practice on it.  They Are Doing Harm, plain and simple, and the reasons they espouse to justify it sound entirely too much like religious apologies of the kind I would expect from William Lane Craig and his ilk.  Those "reasons" upon further examination sound more and more like lame excuses.  They do it because they've always done it, because it's part of their culture, because it's a TRADITION.  That reason no longer cuts the mustard.

You want to defend religious tradition?  There are other such traditions, such as slavery, the relegation of women to second-class status, and the castigation and brutalization of gays and Lesbians because of Who They Are.  I question that, as I question anything, and the answer I get back is that traditions mindlessly adhered to do not serve the individual.  Indeed, they subjugate the individual, typically as a means of keeping him or her under control for the benefit of those in authority.

I don't recognize that authority, and in that regard, I am an iconoclast.  Yet you want to feel sorry for me?  SPARE ME.  Do yourself the favor of rethinking your position on this.  People are taking deleterious action on other people without their consent, indeed without even the ability to consent.  If that doesn't bother you, it damned well should.

I'm not jamming anything down anyone's throat.  I have made an argument based in fact.  I'm asking you to justify your position with a reasoned argument, something you have yet to do.  Emotional arguments aren't going to fly here and you should know that by now, not any more than an argument from tradition will.

If you have such an argument, I suggest you bring it.

All you have brought are arguments from tradition.  No logic, no rationale, nothing to justify why removing a body part, whether functional or not, should be tolerated at all, never mind supported as needful or beneficial to the person being so treated.

I'm not the one wearing blinders; YOU ARE.

I agree with you, Loren.

Circumcision of babies is abhorrent. If men choose circumcision when they come of age, that's fine; however, I see no good reasons for making such a choice -- only religious and cultural reasons. 

Although I don't agree with him on every single issue, Sam Harris has the right of it when it comes to cultural relativism. I once saw a video of him on some kind of panel addressing cultural relativism. He said something to the effect of: "Would you support a culture that demanded that every third child be blinded?" (This isn't the exact quote. Sorry, but I can't seem to find the video.)

A woman with no moral compass said, "It would depend upon the reason for blinding them."

Sam Harris's mouth dropped open. He was left uncharacteristically speechless. My mouth dropped open, too. This should have been a teachable moment for those who believe in cultural relativism. It certainly strengthened my stance on the issue.

Although I find cultural relativism abhorrent, I do agree with Freethinker31 that some atheists are too judgmental...if by that he means some atheists are assholes who make the rest of us look bad. Many of the most prominent atheists on YouTube repulse me. They repulse me so much I decided I no longer wanted to be associated with them and pretty much gave up on atheist activism. Every cause I've ever joined has been taken over by extremists and I'm sick of it.

Now with the wisdom of years I try to reason things out
And the only people I fear are those who never have doubts
Save us all from arrogant men, and all the causes they're for
I won't be righteous again
I'm not that sure anymore - Billy Joel, "Shades of Grey"

I never want to be so cocksure of an idea that it turns me into someone I don't want to be. 

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