"That's because the religious aren't one monolithic group."
They all claim access to a universal truth. By definition, this truth should be, ah, universal. :) And still, they don't get the clue. Moreover, they don't acknowledge that they varied myths are a sign that perhaps they are myths and not related to an observable, consistent reality. There are not hugely divergent myths about gravity. Competing theories, yes, but which share a common basis of observed evidence, and the diverging stories are simply proposed explanations, not asserted immutable facts.
"Other people have different systems for understanding the world, and I think it's better that way. Also, I don't think it's very mature, on your part, to dismiss their systems as immature."
Any system which includes as a serious component, ignoring reality when it conflicts with stories, is simply not a good system. It is perhaps a mild insanity. Or, if you prefer, a foolish choice. I trust a rock before I trust any human agent. Humans are capable of manipulating thier environment to present illusions. Rocks just kinda sit there, like fossils.
As far as my maturity in dismissing thier 'systems'. I've already said in one post that I respect the effort of all early human efforts at learning about the universe. Before we had science, we had myth. But we learned. we discovered we could test our myths, and later we learned to create specific types of myths, precisely so we could test them. This led to myths that actually were ...true! Or at least true-ish, like Newton's mechanics. That we later refined the myth doesn't say anything about Newton's effort. However, folks still insisting that only Newton's truth is True don't need me to enable thier delusion. Ask any psychologist. You shouldn't enable deluded people by providing a supporting voice regarding thier illusions. It can set thier progress back tremendously. Similarly, you won't find me nodding my head blithely when some fundie is ranting at me about jesus or whatever. I inform them as politely as I can that I think they are fucking crazy. I use different words, of course, in the interest of civility.
"I'm an agnostic. I have friends who don't like it and wish I went back to church, and they try to get me to go back, but it isn't much of an issue because there's no reason for it to come up very often. I think I see where you're problem is... "
Well, it is in fact, that religious life is very much a part of public life here. I'm trying not to give too much evidence of where I live, because I don't want to get into bashing any community with this story posting. However, as an example, it was recent frontpage news that a lot of local politicians had some "God in government" shin-dig. I'm sorry, or glad-that-you-don't , but I live in an area where some pretty kooky religious stuff is thrown in my face on a daily basis. I can consent to it, play silent, even PASS as one of them, or I can be who I am. I compromise and keep my ideas to myself, for the most part, but sometimes comments, epithets or other crass things are said in my presence that I have to respond to if I wish to continue respecting myself.
At that point, I'm usually identified as the dreaded 'other', and the more intelligent figure out that I'm holding more back than I'm letting on. I'm an outgoing person, tho, so as long as I go back to passing, most are content to just accept me as being a little odd.
"First off, religion isn't something like the weather that you can bring up, all the sudden, when talking with strangers. "
I'm sorry, this is my fault - i thought I'd made it clear. My problem is that I live in an area where it is like the weather. We have fundies on street corners screaming any time it's warm out and not raining. (the word of god can always wait until better weather, we've noticed)
The atmosphere of the community is actively hostile to anyone of even moderate political views. Agnosticism or atheism are seen as identical - i've tried to explain the differnce to blank stares and the usual, "but they both don't believe in Jesus, right? Are they satanists?" response. It can be hard to believe a place like this exists, but it does.
"A college education doesn't mean that someone has anything interesting to say.
Oh, I agree absolutely. It doesn't even mean the education 'took'. It does however adjust the probabilities we are dealing with. Nothing certain, mind you, but just more likely that the person not only went thru high school, but learned some of the material, and then went on to learn some more, perhaps, we may hope, even acquiring learning as a habit. I'm just lazy. I don't want to provide a half-hour history/context lesson for every discussion I have. I want to get past the remedial information that really, they should know, and on to substantive discussion, even debate. I can't debate with a person who doesn't know anything about the topic that they didn't hear from me. Bo-ring. Believe me, I've tried, in desperation, I've tried. <shakes head sadly> Worse. Those lacking in education have acquired the despicable habit, much like reading poetry in public, or voicing opinions generated entirely off of thier initial impulse, without any examination of bakground material or the reasonings behind the various available viewpoints. Eiwww...
"I was under the impression that you were just another radical leftist.
<grin> Fuck no. I do tend to curse a lot. It's just my way. But seriously, I don't like parties or platforms. I've got principles. The resulting view on any given topic varies across the political spectrum. You can usually figure out which one's I'm for by looking for me where there's something like: respect for people, the principle that we can work together to improve everyone's lot, the notion that responsibiity isn't just for other people, and let's see...if it can be paraphrased as, "Be excellent to one another.", I'm probably for it.
How's that for a political platform soundbite. Maybe I should start my 'nice and responsible' party with the 'leave them alone if they ain't hurting no one' platform. Add on it my 'Acceptable public behaviour for businesses' community responsibility plank and the 'you pollute it, you live on it' environmental plank.
I'm not saying the board of directors can't pollute the Alaskan shoreline, I'm saying that's where they get to live if they do. (ok, it's a tongue in cheek joke, folks. But you get the sentiment.) People and businesses (people acting in concert) should just be responsible for thier actions. Call me a flaming radical, but it makes sense to me. Has since I learned it from my parents after doing a no-no.
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