Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thin skins aren't just worn by theists

Jon Stewart has be drubbed by numerous folks on the Left for what they consider the false equivalency of the message in his Rally to Restore Sanity.  Both Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann make the point that the institutionalized lunacy of the Right cannot be compared to the anger and occasional irrationality on the left.  They say that there is no liberal mirror to a Glenn Beck or an Ann Coulter.  As far as that goes, I agree with them, but I don't think that was the message of the Rally.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seemed to me that Stewart was simply trying to get everyone on all sides to step back and take a deep breath, then put things into perspective.  The hypersensitivity that is so apparent on Fox News is certainly not confined there, nor is it limited to the conservative frame of mind.

Take as a case in point this conversation I got into today on Facebook.  I was responding to a post by Tracie Harris in which she was simply stating her amusement about how Facebook puts up Christian advertisements on atheists' pages based on our profile information.  One of her other fans responded in an over-the-top way that I've reprinted below along with my responses.  I've removed the other person's name (now #######) , but I otherwise have not edited the comments.  Spelling and grammar are exactly as that person originally wrote.
#######:  i close [the ads] and in my remark i say that is offensive.  we should all get offended when we see a propaganda for bronze age fairy tale worship

Rich Lane I'd call them ridiculous, but I can't find ads like that offensive. We scoff at theists who say the atheist bus ads are offensive, so how can we in good conscience make the same claim?

#######: no. but an organisation which proclaims an ultimate truth which has failed to be justified for over 2000 years, the religion which is the basis for the mass slaughter of jews in ww2, the 500 years of burning men and women to death at the st...ake (the very icon they reject) simply because they refuse to believe, submit, or are intelligent enough to question.

the organisation which proclaim the source of morality but rapes children; who went to Africa, took a look around and despite their poor situation, convinced them to keep having babies non stop and cause a situation whereby they have more population then they can feed, where mothers have to give birth to babies to watch they die of hunger, and entire villages down with aids because condoms are evil...

yes i can get offended. we have the right to. as opposed to them having none. and i stand by my right to not to have to tolerate the world giving bronze age fairy tales respect. i deserve to be offended when the UN make laws for its member states to INCRIMINATE anyone who might speak ill of islam, whether the insulting verse comes from their very own holy scripture or not.
everyone should be offended by religion.
Rich Lane That's doesn't answer my question. How can we pooh-pooh Christians who say the bus ads offend them if we take the same attitude? "Offend" means something very specific to me; it means someone has transgressed an ethical standard or moral boundary. If the ad says something about the sinfulness and hellbound nature of gays, I'd agree that's offensive. If it's just selling the Bible or the latest in Christian jewelry, it's just stupid and tacky to me.
#######: it does.
#######: maybe not to you. but what that is, is propagating their religion. lobbying falls within propagating too. try living in a place where 1st amendment do not apply and religion's lobbying can give birth to UN resolution where u might be jailed... for posting a youtube video that shows a muslim holyman on tv telling men to beat women.

so yes i respect your views. but i have every right to be offended.
every right to. as opposed to them having none.

#######:  and i might add precisely in good conscience and in good mind should we be offended. anyone who isn't must either be a saint or one of their religious order

Rich Lane: Since I am neither saint nor religious, your last statement is obviously false.

#######:  it doesnt apply to you. doesn't make it false.

Rich Lane: But I'm not offended by the ads, so I'm not sure how your blanket statement *doesn't* include me when it includes "...anyone who isn't..."

#######: its an opinion. i can reconcile that by saying its not "everyone" lol

#######: and if you werent being too quick to disagree you might find it is very much me shooting off my own opinion instead of the blanket assertion as you asserted
 I have reason to suspect that English may not be this person's first language, so I'm not going to make a big deal about the grammar and spelling, but I really roll my eyes at the notion of reporting an advertisement as offensive simply because it features Christian products.  1) the complaint will accomplish absolutely nothing, and 2) it perpetuates the notion of atheists as thin-skinned, hyperbolic, and hypocritical.  Then the poster goes on to make a blanket statement how if a person doesn't find the ads offensive, they must be religious.  This to me is nothing but a variation of the No True Scotsman logical fallacy which is so frequently evident in theist apologetics.

I retired from the field after the poster essentially said I was misrepresenting the argument by confusing his opinion with a blanket assertion (the difference being...?) because I always feel like I'm making a scene in someone else's house when I get into a debate on another person's thread on Facebook, but the person continued to post, only now the subject was a mini conspiracy theory on how Youtube was becoming a tool for theists and soon atheists would not be allowed to post there at all, and how he wished another youtube would come into being to ensure atheistic freedom

Personally, I think this is the kind of person Stewart had in mind when he planned the rally.

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