As one who finds the influence of religious belief an affront to freedom, to intellect, to curiosity and to the advancement of all noble causes of mankind, I am perpetually stunned when the religious feign offense if I should question the legitimacy of the basic tenets of the belief system. It seems a weak attempt at protectionism and isolationism.
How precisely does raising a question about the logical underpinnings of a series of rules or a set of standards offend? When we question whether a certain law is Constitutional or whether it is accomplishing its desired intent, are we offending lawyers? Legislators? If that were the case, our judicial system–wonderfully established by the gentlemen who designed the USA–spends all its time offending people.
When we discuss the legitimacy of Communism, and by that I mean its principles, rules and standards, are we offending Communists? And if so, need we stop our analysis? How about slavery? When Americans bought and sold human beings in the marketplace and took ownership of them, I suppose it was offensive to slave owners if anyone were to question the basic ruleset by which these people deemed themselves to rightfully be owners of other humans. I must say it was rather presumptuous of those freedom lovers to make a stink about slavery. How offensive!
Based on my encounters with the defenders of various celestial monarchies, the frequent use of tactics aimed at either diverting the discussion or changing the focus of it come off as rather disingenuous, They tend to do most of the talking–which is quite a feat when talking with me–and it invariably leads to the apparently thin-skinned and easily offended believers marching off in a fit of pique and labeling me as a crass offender of their principles and good nature. Surely presenting a basic staple of the things a faithful person has subscribed to by signing on to this organization should be a permissible point of discussion among civilized people. I wouldn’t think discussing the tax policy of a particular politician or political party is off limits due to sensibilities of those who believe in various economic theories.
No, I think it plainly obvious that the offense is merely defense. Clerics have built this defense mechanism into the machinery of religious belief. Even questioning the cleric is offensive….to God himself! And you certainly don’t wish to offend him! All I can say to my fellow Great Apes on Planet Earth is that while you may cringe at the thought of someone questioning the belief in the resurrection of the dead, or the belief in a mind-reading invisible immortal in the sky, don’t mistake critical thinking about the premises as an attack on your sensibilities. In fact, why not engage in a discussion about the premise, not about the people having the discussion.
PS Please do not question what I have written here as I would be deeply offended.