This is really why I’m increasingly convinced that having religious debates is pointless. I recently had a discussion with someone who self-described as a moderate theist, they refused to even say what kind of theist they were, although I’m relatively certain they are some kind of new-agey Christian type. So we start talking about evidence and what criteria people ought to have in order to accept religious claims as reasonably true and he says there is no criteria. Evidence doesn’t matter. So long as you feel good about the things that you believe, you should be able to believe anything you want.
Vishnu? Zeus? Sure, go ahead! Faith healing and creationism? Knock yourself out! Leprechauns? Unicorns? Absolutely! There is nothing so absurd that we should tell believers that they are wrong, even if it kills the believer, their children or random members of the public. Faith is supreme and nothing else matters!
Besides, it isn’t like what some crazy person believes ever affects me, right? That was when I launched into the Religious Horror Show, with hundreds of examples of people killing innocent children, murdering heretics and molesting minors. I pointed out that beliefs inform actions and that people who believe in particularly odious things tend to vote for those things if they are able. I pointed out the current battle over gay rights and historically, that the same people who are against equality today voted against things like civil rights and interracial marriage in the not too distant past. But again, he was nonplussed, he figured people could vote for whatever they wanted and it would all magically work out in the end. Faith is key, nothing else matters.
Finally, I threw the example we’ve been using on the podcast for the past couple of weeks, what if someone decided that they wanted to go all Aztec on your ass and rip your still-beating heart out of your chest. Would that be okay? Sure, he says! Come and get me! It was then that I figured he was either a troll or a loon, maybe both because it’s often difficult to tell the difference between the two. Anyone who is up for an involuntary heart extraction has to have something wrong with them. It was about then that I started wondering if I should find an old Aztec ceremonial knife or just shake my head and leave because both options started looking equally appealing. I decided to do the latter though because even though he seemed fine with me gouging his ticker out of his chest, I was pretty sure that the authorities would disagree.
I’d just assume this was a troll, had I not seen a number of people recently advocating the exact same thing. Any act, so long as it is religious, ought to be okay, regardless of the act and regardless of the consequences. Religion is all. Nothing else matters. These people are either stupid or crazy and they don’t seem to understand what’s wrong with that.