Monday, September 7, 2009
dismissal hurts the cause
Just like any group of people who believe strongly in anything, especially religion, to talk down to other groups in opposition is counter productive. Having recently listened to about 1/3 the audio version of Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion, and having come across a few different pieces of commentary by both George Carlin and Bill Maher, there seems to be a trend of atheists or rationally minded people who do not just fall into the religious line to lash out at there claims of the absurdity that is religion. To dismiss the importance of religion in people's lives is to begin to understand the weight that it does carry. To consider the rise of religion, or more aptly, spirituality, well before Judaism, as a means to cope with the new found understanding of personal mortality, it is not hard to imagine how it has been blown out of proportion. The fear of death is the driving force in how people are controlled and how they live their lives and spread their genes among other things.
The anti-religious groups, by resorting to a similar dismissive rhetoric as those proposing the existence of God, are shooting themselves in the foot. The religious or God fanatics should be sensitive to critical thinkers and the atheists should be sensitive to religiosity. Where is the finesse of the debate? The overriding principles of religion, compassion, patience, understanding fly from the waist side in the atmosphere of the discussion of the existence of God. To hit someone over the head, metaphorically and as is the case in the history of religious conquest literally (and some advocates of atheism are guilty of it in a metaphorical sense, cases of atheistic violence escape my awareness) does not showcase a civilized tactic but serves more as ammunition for the counter argument of righteousness versus action thereof. And in turn, critical thinkers (scientists, philosophers, independent thinkers in general, etc.) must recognize that a trait of such a mindset is to be patient, to allow for the counter party to state his/her case and to calmly and rationally state the case for opposition. To wildly dismiss the idea of religion and group all religious people into a box of religious fanaticism is to reflect and participate in tendencies of the opposition in which one is using as an arguing point.
To have a dialogue is to converse. This is where an exchange of ideas is played out. When one side of an ideology is shot down prior to them being allowed to state their case and their opposition is not willing to consider their side of the argument, then the parties involved are no longer engaged in a dialogue but merely a monologue with an audience or one or more. The same has been true for politics, where if we are going to go so far as to exercise nomenclature in relation to religious and political ideology, the only correlations of religious fanatics would be neo conservatives and critical thinkers would be fire breathing hard core extreme leftist liberals, of coarse there is some wiggle room in this correlation.
Dismissal may be a sign of the insecurity of an argument. Conviction in beliefs should foster a willingness to hear and an attempt to relate to opposing view points in order to further assess the state of the argument and the personal ideology held wherein.