On the right to be an idiot, and the right to be an asshole
In my previous posting, I’m sure I came off as a bit, or even more than a bit of an asshole to a lot of people. That doesn’t really bother me. I think what I think, and whether I write it here or just keep it in my head to myself, I think what I think. You want me to stop thinking this way, there’s a simple way. Convince me I’m wrong. I believe people are entitled to think whatever they are going to think, and to say what they think. Another way to put it, I think attempting to coerce people [edit: to believe something or to think something or to agree with you] is unethical and bound to fail even if it weren’t unethical. [Edit: I don’t think coercion is bound to fail in the case of children I actually think that children are easily coerced into believing almost whatever you could imagine to tell them.] Given that [edit: it is unethical to coerce someone into believing something, it follows that], it’s a right for a person to think what they will. I think those rights belong to everyone. I don’t think one person’s being offended by another person’s thoughts or speech give the offended party any sort of right to “shut up” the offending party, or to make the offending party “leave” in the vast majority of circumstances.
[edit: I do think that] There are some circumstances when one must “shut up” about one’s beliefs though. For instance, I think that in a courthouse, for example, in which a fair shake is supposed to be given to all participants, the court, the judge, and jury should really try not have a bias towards anything except the universally observable evidence — that is, revelation and faith are right out. Religions are not based on universally observable evidence, or even any evidence at all, typically. So the courts should not have a bias towards any religions or superstitions. So that’s one case where I think people, members of the courts, if they stray into promoting one religion or anti-religion, should be made to shut up, as it is part of their job that they should be as neutral as is possible on such matters, as neutral as possible only extending so far as not to contradict evidence (e.g. not so neutral that say, Jehovah’s Witnesses are allowed to deny a life saving blood transfusion to a child.)
I, as a blogger on the internet, am under no obligation to remain neutral on such matters, and if you’re going to have a blog that isn’t pointless, one could argue that you’ve got an obligation to be non-neutral, and express what you really think about things.
So, if I think, for example, that Christians are being idiots in accepting any of the beliefs that just being a Christian involves accepting, well, I’m not going to pretend that I do not think that, or refrain from expressing it if the mood to express it strikes me. You don’t have to agree with me, you don’t have to agree that I’m not an asshole, you don’t have to read this blog. But you don’t have the right to make me “shut up”, or “leave”, either. Go make your own blog, or “GYOB” as we say here on “teh internets,” and explain what you think.
And of course, I’m not the only one who thinks these (less and less) unpopular things about religion and faith. I was cruising around youtube today and came across the video below, posted just today. Here’s a guy on youtube who thinks more or less as I do, as far as in his opinions of the concept of faith, although I do have to say I only agree with him up to a point. At the end when he says “fucking die” at around 2:22, well, that’s too much even for this asshole. Those idiots have the right to be idiots, and you have the right to think they’re idiots, but telling them to “fucking die,” isn’t cool. You’ve got the right to say it, as I don’t think that amounts to a credible threat, but it’s really not cool, as I see it.
[Nov 18, 2008: Edited as marked for clarity, plus removed one duplicated word.]