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Religious Bullying

I was reading a friend’s blog yesterday and one of the things she experiences seemed similar to what I recently experienced in relation to my friend’s funeral. We were both bullied into silence and forced to hide our lack of belief in the ridiculous.

As it turns out, most people in the greater community of reason tend to put a value on morality. We care about the feelings of others. We are considerate people. The religious don’t seem to care and aren’t considerate and they have no problem using our consideration as a weapon to silence us and force their religious upon us.

Sometimes that is unintentional as it probably was in my friend’s case. Other times, it seems like it is very intentional like I think it was in the funeral case. Religious believers know that they can push us around and force their ridiculous beliefs on us and that we will stay silent because we have a desire to be respectful and we don’t want our objection to be disruptive to others. If we do end up saying something, we then reinforce the old “angry atheist” stereotype. It is a win/win for the religious.

Being in the majority helps them to bully us, but the truth is that they don’t need to be in the majority to bully us in this fashion. All they really need is a screwed up sense of morality… check. They don’t care about people’s lives. All they care about is people’s afterlives. Because of this, they have no problem pushing their religion in any and every situation without regard for appropriateness.

In my friend’s case, her teacher casually brings up religion in a lecture or discussion and if my friend raises an issue about it, it derails the conversation from the topic that is supposed to be discussed.  It was inappropriate for the educator to insert religion into the conversation without consideration of the religious beliefs (and lack of beliefs) of his or her students. In my case, the pastor used the highly emotional situation to push his beliefs knowing full well that we were all grieving and that it was an inappropriate occasion to push religion on those he knows don’t share those beliefs.

I don’t have an answer to this problem. As outspoken and vocal as I am, there are times in which I think it is inappropriate to challenge the religious on their bullshit. The funeral was a perfect example of this. There is no right answer, but there are plenty of wrong answers. In these situations we have become victims of religious bullying because we want to be kind and considerate people and they don’t care to be either.

It seems like the only way out is to be just as inconsiderate and inappropriate as they are. But then we become no better than they are. So we are stuck being pushed around by these religious bullies. 🙁

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