Thursday, February 4, 2010

On fundamentalism.

This was a question someone asked Leah on her FormSpring page:
Does Taylor realize he is just as bad as Fundamentalist Christians who are intolerant of others beliefs?
Here was her answer:
I wouldn't say he is intolerant by any means because all of his family and most of his closest friends are Christian and he obviously "tolerates" them.

I guess they would say that because of all the abortion clinics I've bombed. Or I guess it could've been the time I tried to deny American citizens equal rights because of something my parents taught me out of a magic book.
Not that either?
I guess it was this blog, then. I have committed some terrible fundamentalist atheist crimes on this blog. For instance, I've asked religious people to defend their position. Gasp! I've also expressed the views that I've come to hold after 20+ years in the church that I now criticize. How unfair! I've also lovingly poked fun at several beliefs held by MANY of my closest friends and family. Shit, man! How can anyone stand to be around me? I also openly mock Scientology, but I really doubt that that has upset anyone.

The problem with the internet is that it's just a bunch of people typing bullshit at one another and on here it's so easy to forget that there's actually another human being attached to the argument. I have these same conversations ALL THE TIME with my friends, and they always seem to be full of levity and respect when they take place face to face. Here, though, I guess I can see how it's easy to think that everyone that disagrees with you is some cold, robotic, unfeeling automaton, when in actuality you would probably get along just fine.

What I'm really arguing for, however, is for intellectual honesty and self awareness. I'm not terribly "tolerant" of people claiming to know things that they don't really know and then insisting that if I don't buy in too I'll go to a place of endless sorrow. But do I know they're wrong? Hell, no. I feel like I go out of my way to say "I don't know what the answer is either."

So it goes.

But in case anyone was was wondering, I don't "tolerate" my religious friends and family. I think asking everyone for "tolerance" is weak sauce. Jesus never taught "tolerance" and it's one of the things I've always liked about him. I love the shit out of my friends and family. I cherish them. I adore them. I "tolerate" the old man at work. There's a big difference.


  1. +1

    ...There's really just nothing to add.

  2. That sounds like a good Kelly Clarkson song... "I love the shit out of you"

  3. I wouldn't be too worried about the word "fundamentalist". It's essentially our modern secular version of the word "heretic". Nobody seems to know what it means, but everyone thinks that they themselves are not one of them.

  4. "Heretic" sounds way cooler though. I've always figured that if you're a fundamentalist then there would probably need to be some fundamentals you feel the need to follow. I think the word that person was really looking for was "asshole." If she'd used that word, I may not have been able to argue the point.

  5. haha...Heretic does sound way cooler. We should bring it back.

  6. I like infidel more. :]

    But yeah, what's fundamental to atheism other than non-belief? Doesn't sound too dangerous to me.

  7. Mock Scientology? I'm pissed.

    You do go out of your way to say that you don't know the answer/s. Sometimes I think you do it even when something is knowable and in those instances I interpret that as you trying to soften your opinion for those that you care about. Of course, I don't know you personally so that is probably just me projecting, but whatevs. I try to have sympathy for those who are still believers when I talk to them about my ideas because it's probably scary and sad for them and probably even a little bit threatening - so I do make an effort to be gentle & considerate with them even though they often are not that way with me. I told my very Christian mom that once (a version of that) and she said I was the only person in the family (at that particular time) who was behaving in a "godly" manner. I thought that was pretty funny. And kind of sweet too.

  8. That's weird someone would say that. You're writing your own views in your own blog and never forced anyone to read your blog making them accept it as truth. From your blogs you seem like the most open minded person I've ever known about, constantly considering another side to things. That's the antonym of fundamentalist!

    Just keep on keepin' on.