Tolerance, and the right to criticize religion?
The Travel is Fatal post, brings up issues of tolerance, and acceptance and what they include.
Bigotry being wrong, regarding issues like race and gender, is easily seen by most.
One cannot choose one’s skin color, genetics, etc.
But are acceptance and tolerance always a good thing?
Of course not. We cannot be accepting or tolerant of things that are harmful. (not if we care about the survival of the human race)
I think there is a difference in accepting and tolerating “people” and what they are born with, verses behaviors, actions, ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.
Sometimes it is hard to separate, but we should.
So when I say I am accepting and tolerant, I say that I am so of humans. Your age, gender, race, color, accent, etc.
But, I may not be tolerant and accepting of some humans behavior and ideas.
Freedom of speech, and expression are treasures that have been bought with blood.
But along with that, comes the right to criticize.
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.” [New Statesman interview, 7 January 1939]” ― Winston Churchill
“To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas – even if they are sincerely held beliefs – is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticize and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed. What is wrong with inciting intense dislike of a religion if the activities or teachings of that religion are so outrageous, irrational or abusive of human rights that they deserve to be intensely disliked?”
– Rowan Atkinson
But, with this, IF our goal is compassion and the ability to live in peace with diversity, (that does not cause harm to others)
our methods of criticism desire attention.
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” ― Abraham Lincoln
“There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions. … It obviously endangers the freedom and the objectivity of our discussion if we attack a person instead of attacking an opinion or, more precisely, a theory. ” ~Karl Popper
While irony, and sarcasm can be tools of criticism, one does have to be wary of crossing the line over to mocking, and bullying. What is to gain then? One loses the value of criticism.
And a final thought,
The value of criticism is a two edged sword.
“When I speak of reason or rationalism, all I mean is the conviction that we can learn through criticism of our mistakes and errors, especially through criticism by others, and eventually also through self-criticism. A rationalist is simply someone for whom it is more important to learn than to be proved right; someone who is willing to learn from others — not by simply taking over another’s opinions, but by gladly allowing others to criticize his ideas and by gladly criticizing the ideas of others. The emphasis here is on the idea of criticism or, to be more precise, critical discussion.” ~Karl Popper
“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
― Norman Vincent Peale
- Posted in: assumptions ♦ Atheism ♦ bigotry ♦ Christianity ♦ Empathy ♦ racism ♦ Religion ♦ Skepticism ♦ Theism ♦ tolerance ♦ Understanding one another
- Tagged: acceptance, atheism, christianity, criticism, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, religion, rights, skepticism, tolerance, value of criticism