Monday, July 18, 2016

Today's Wish: Freedom From Other People's Religions

That's what I desire right now: freedom from other people's religions.  I'm fed up with the anti-woman and anti-GLBT stances of the Islamists, the Catholic Church* and the fundamentalist Protestants in the US.

I'm also fed up with the way freedom of religion is interpreted as the right to constrain the lives of those who don't belong to the same faith, and with the way that same freedom for women to practice their religion (often an archaic patriarchal one) is defended by some on feminist principles (along the lines of I-choose-my-oppression).

How does one even begin to argue with religious extremists?  I don't see how it can be done, given that they refuse any arguments not based on literal readings of their own holy texts, written thousands of years ago.

Not that I desire to have a row with them; I just wish they'd stick to the more secular evidence in their arguments so that there would be some common ground.  But the only ground they wish to stand on is their own literal interpretations of ancient writings.  And guess what?  Women in those olden days had no rights to speak of, which, I'm told,  means that women today shouldn't have many rights, either.

This is one of my repeating grumbles.  You may wish to consider it in the light of the weather here:  Hot and muggy.  When I leave air-conditioned spaces I feel as if my brain is being stir-fried with garlic and ginger, and that reminds me of this and of similar examples where emotions (or appeals to something we are expected to take on faith) are used alone **, and of the great power of emotions in politics:  They seem impervious to any facts that clash with them.

*  The current Pope has improved the church's policies, though more in the way the poor are viewed than in the way women are viewed.  Still, I see some slight changes in the church's prior obsessive focus on controlling women's fertility, though I doubt we shall see women get the power to participate in that policy-making any time soon.

* * Emotions are important, of course.  Otherwise we'd be machines.  But the proper role of emotions, in my opinion, is to fuel one's activism and the search for all evidence, to see to what extent they support our emotions.