The following is a conversation that was spurred by this very well written letter by none other than Mr. Stephen Fry. This conversation took place over facebook between myself, my brother, and our idiot cousin. For the sake of keeping this short, I'll omit most of my own posts as well as several of the others, as this conversation was initially supposed to centre around the boycott of the olympics (and mostly did), but quickly became muddled with theology and nightmarish claims from the christian right. Here are the few comments in question:
Jay: Ah crap! I lost my mini violin.... I had a beautiful song for this guy.
Mathew: I think you had better explain, Jay. Is that sarcasm or are you actually being that shockingly ignorant?
Jay: No i'm dead serious! My beautiful mini violin playing really helps cure the whines
Mark: Jay, do you have any fucking clue what is happening to gays and lesbians in Russia right now? Or are you merely hearing the words 'gay' / 'lesbian' and letting your incredibly ignorant christian bias take over? Maybe read a news article before spewing your self-righteous bullshit.
Jay: What's happening is something easily resolved. It's called renouncing that your gay/lesbian and keeping it secret like most people did for the longest time. There are to many people now a days that are screaming human rights when really all it's leading to mass chaos. Eventually people will complain about their rights to raping children, their rights to murder, it's a vicious cycle to no end. So whether or not i'm christian or not has absolutely nothing to do with it. People are being persecuted because they aren't following the laws of their land. As far as i'm concerned if russia says no, then leave or change. Just because Canada made the mistake of making it legal doesn't meen Russia should either. And as for me self righteousness, the only difference between me and whomever else you're comparing me to is selfcontrol and the ability to see the need for it. The reason i live that is way is because i'm christian, my lifestyle however is just disciplined and under authority.
Jay: And by the way, Everyone has a bias, you just don't find mine of value and are trying to force yours on mine. If you're going to post stuff on like in public be prepared for every bias to have their right of speech, if you don't like it, don't post it.
I so badly wish I could say that I'm shocked, appalled, devastated, stunned, or confused. No such feelings came to me at any point. I simply felt: pity. Overwhelming and extraordinary pity for this amoral, dishonest, ignoramus zealot. Even if you can ignore the logical fallacies that this pathetic soliloquy is lousy with, or the remarkable shortsightedness in not recognizing that these "laws of the land" that he is touting could very well stamp out his own religious freedoms in the future, he is, at the end of the day, just taking his scripture seriously. Many of my christian friends and family would be outraged by this level of hate-mongering, but I ask: by what right? He's read and continues to follow the EXACT same fucking book they do, and in point of fact, may actually be adhering to its tenets more accurately than they. This is a hate letter to christian theology. Please join me.
So people who are different from other people yet are being attacked and castigated for that difference are, for all intents and purposes, supposed to go back in the closet. More so, they're supposed to "renounce" a significant portion of WHO THEY ARE to placate others who are not comfortable with such people. They're supposed to please either the majority or the government in power because that's the way they want it. Their lifestyle impacts NO ONE in any verifiable fashion, yet it is declared illegal anyway. Welcome to the world of irrational discrimination.
As for me, I am not shocked, appalled, devastated, stunned or confused about Jay ... well, maybe appalled. I AM, however, thoroughly and utterly DISGUSTED with him, because his attitude is that of an unreconstructed BIGOT. I wonder if his reaction were similar to the fight for civil rights for blacks, presuming he was even alive 40+ years ago. Maybe he would say that that was different, though I would remind him that slavery, if not promoted by the bible, is never opposed within its pages.
It's a safe bet that Jay has never been discriminated against, never been the target of bigotry or irrational disdain. As christians fall further into the minority, he might learn, though ... and that is one lesson I would love to see taught.
So sauce for the goose isn't a horse of a different color, eh? He's apparently grown very used to the blinders he's wearing.
The moral of this story is get off Facebook. I did. And my stress level has gone down 100%.
Contrary to other opinions, I'd continually engage him. Why not. The minute we, as atheists and rationalists, give up on engaging these idiots, and pointing out the fallacies of their "precious" belief system, we've lost. We've given up the high ground we should be taking. Keep pointing out the stupidity, irrationality, superstition, and bigotry. Do they get uncomfortable with that? I sure as hell hope so!
Some of them might get uncomfortable, Pat. Others are so immersed in their beliefs that it would take an act of Congress (cha, right!) to unseat them from their position. I debated a bunch of such people on another board up until recently. I quit because they weren't moving from their position and I wasn't about to move from mine ... and I felt as though I was wasting my time, at least with them. What made it worse was that they were bringing the same old questions and points, over and Over and OVER again, and once one stopped or left the conversation, another one started the same dance. Certainly there are other people out there, willing to dance every dance, and I admire their stamina.
Fact is, I don't share it. It got OLD, Pat ... and I got tired of it.
I'll agree that there are those that are so set in their ways, incontrovertible evidence biting them in the face would not change their minds. And, I'll conceded that arguing with an immovable brick wall can get real old, real fast. Nevertheless, I still maintain that we don't give up, if for no other reason than, as you said, "Some of them might get uncomfortable." It's those "some" that are worth reaching. I'm not saying we need to proselytize. I don't believe in engaging in the same behavior as the tambourine bangers. All I'm saying is don't be silent in the face of stupidity.
Oh, I'm not quiet in the face of stupidity. I'm just done with habitually jousting at windmills. The JWs haven't paid a visit yet this year, but should they choose to, they'll discover that their BS not only STILL doesn't go over, but that the guy on the other side of the door may be even feistier than he was the last time they knocked.
I'm still not much for starting fights. I AM utterly determined to finish them once they start.
I quit Farcebook because my comments on anything religious or political, however innocuous they seemed to me, greatly upset my religious friends. I'm not entirely non-confrontational; I understand the value in taking a strong stand on important things (I protest my ass off against immoral wars). I consider myself philosophically agnostic, rationally atheist, and morally anti-theist. But I have no interest in harming others, and it became apparent that my worldview wasn't informing my friends but was causing them a great deal of anguish.
Since I care about those people I'd love to see their views evolve, and wouldn't mind if theirs influenced mine. But every single conversation moved backward rather than forward, and I decided to just cut the drama in their lives and mine. Sometimes it's better to bend rather than to break or break something else. If it were something more consequential than Farcebook I might have stuck to my guns.