'Christianity' Does Not Equate To 'Religion'
It's like flicking a light switch. Give a mention to Christianity in an article, and out trot all the Dawkins wannabes, rattling off the usual repertoire of oh-so-intellectual derision of the religious. And not one of them - just as in the case of Dawkins himself - bothers to analyse their own complaints before making them.
Gordon Pryra: straight in there with, "anyone who believes in a deity is suspect". Suspected of *what*? Lack of intelligence? Lack of scientific objectivity? Lack of education? So often these assumptions are rolled out - yet the number of scientists professing one religion or another is ample refutation for that idea. Even Dawkins couldn't make those charges stick, try as he might. I wonder if the truth is more likely that religious people simply annoy you? And perhaps that, in turn, is because you can't be bothered to differentiate between the intolerant fundamentalists and the vast majority of the world's religious people who simply believe something you don't?
Paul Gray: As a 'religious type' I still can't answer the first question you asked - about Adam and Eve - because it relates to a religion I don't follow; and even if I did, it'd require that I took a fairly literal view of that religion's holy book - an interpretation that relatively few of its followers adhere to. In answer to your second question - about how many religious people would take their sick child to a doctor - I couldn't possibly say. But I'd venture the number would be pretty high. I know I certainly would. As for whether going to a doctor is a violation of some supreme being's Divine Plan, I'd wonder why you suppose that doctors are excluded from having a place in that Plan.
Charlie Clark and others: I assume that your objection to the fact that this case saw a courtroom at all stands only while you disagree with the appellants' point of view. Presumably you'd be similarly outraged if you made a claim to the court and had it rebuffed out of hand because your viewpoint was unpopular? Are religious people so evil that they must be denied the right to legal recourse in the democratic USA?
Dapprman: Well done to you, sir, for being the first person I've seen in a *long* while to use the Flying Spaghetti Monster for the purpose it was created for. Namely an argument of reductio ad absurdum challenging the notion that literalist Christianity alone amongst religions should be given attention as an 'alternative' to proper science. Unfortunately, more often than not the FSM is trotted out merely as derisive mockery of religion in general - a use which seriously diminishes its impact.
Adnim: the truth is that not only is this "think of the children" argument against religious 'indoctrination' rather facile, but it also waters down the meaning of the term 'child abuse'. If a supposedly rational person feels so appalled at the idea of a parent teaching their child according to their own conscience, then surely the only moral alternative is to make all children wards of state at birth until adulthood. After all, such people, being generally superior, could presumably be trusted not to allow their *own* beliefs and opinions not to influence the child in any way at all.
D.M.: "Ban all religions". It's been tried. And each time, the attempt to dictate what people can believe and what they can't has created a somewhat less-than-utopian society. And again, I note you say "all religion". With what justification do you seek to remove humanity's right to free belief?
Anonymous Coward: "Any form of religion should be confined to *church*"? Very telling, that - and serves to make my point. What place does a non-Christian religion have in a church? Do you know that 'Christianity' and 'religion' are not synonymous? And what was that? "Religion as [sic] caused only pain and suffering since the down [sic] of man"? You could argue far more safely that religion *has caused* pain and suffering than you can that it's caused nothing but. Even then, the truth is that it's usually the misapplication of religious principles that result in pain and suffering. For example, Jesus teaches Christians to be tolerant and humble - yet when they're *not* tolerant and humble, their religion still gets the blame. And whatever else it's done, religion has also inspired great works and wonders throughout history. Of course, whether you recognise any value in such things, or even acknowledge their reality, is up to you.
As you can probably tell, I'm a religious person. I'm not a Christian. More specifically still, I'm not a fundamentalist Christian who considers the Bible literal truth in its entirety. But, to listen to all these knee-jerk reactions above, surely just being religious means I must dispute the court's finding here?
Well, as it is, I welcome the decision. Contrary though it might be to cherished prejudices, I have a lot of time for science and scientists. Incidentally, I also know that the vast majority of Christians would themselves prefer to keep Bible literalism out of classrooms and colleges, because most Christians *don't* view the Bible (at least in its entirety) as literal truth. For them, it might well *contain* truth - but then, I'd say so do many works of literature, whether recording historical fact or not.
Had the critics on this page stuck to criticising the religion in question - or better yet, the *specific people* in question - I'd have had no issue with any of them. As it is, the criticism is less about opposing the evils of religion than it is about self-indulgence. It's a way to feel superior - a motive that, interestingly, also drives many of those prone to trying to force their religious beliefs on others.