I am godsdamned motherfucking sick and bloody tired of this ridiculous idea that religious ideas are somehow beyond critical thought and criticism.
The moment an advocate of a religious idea tells me I should live by that idea, I start to question it. Why? What's the evidence that this is better than the 2,684,879,413 other religious ideas I'm told I should live by?
The very instant I'm told "because [insert deity/deities here] said so," that idea gets flushed. I've had it.
I'm out of patience with special pleading. Religion is no better an idea than any other. Just because someone says a god is behind it doesn't mean it's automatically more valid than the non-god endorsed good ideas that humans have had.
Frauds tell you not to question. Liars tell you to believe. Folks who are telling the truth welcome inquiry. Good ideas withstand skepticism.
I'll tell you the #1 reason I can't have faith in God. It's because God, according to the Christian Bible, doesn't welcome doubt. God can't stand to be questioned. And that tells me either God is an illusion created by people who are now desperate to keep that illusion from being revealed as such, or God is a psychopathic liar who isn't telling me the truth.
I don't believe because there's no evidence, but that's a diatribe for another day. What I'm dealing with here isn't belief, but faith. The requirement that we live by certain principles because they are religious. The demand for respect for something simply because it's religious.
As PZ said,
When someone advances remarkable claims of remarkable phenomena, like N rays or cold fusion or polywater (or natural selection or chemiosmosis or endosymbiosis), we demand evidence and skeptical evaluation…but not for religion. God always gets a pass from the people who already believe. They claim the existence of the most powerful, all-pervasive force in the universe, yet will provide not a single shred of support. And worse, this bozo calls the demand for evidence "hooliganism".
If that's the case, I'm proud to be a hooligan.
Too fucking right. Maybe I'm more tolerant of other people's faith than PZ is, maybe I'm more willing to let them that likes it have it, but their beliefs don't get my automatic respect because they're religious beliefs. "It's what I believe" isn't enough. Give me a fucking good reason. Especially if you're demanding more than my mere toleration.
The bastard who called PZ a hooligan likes to drop the names of a lot of religious luminaries, such as Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Krishnamurti, etc., and then crow, "What, are you gonna call them liars, PZ?"
Why the fuck not?
Just because the courtiers had good ideas on how to be decent human beings doesn't mean they were right about the Emperor's clothes.
Being religious people doesn't give their ideas greater weight than the great ideas of non-religious thinkers.
It doesn't put them beyond reproach.
And anyone who claims it does is showing me they're too afraid to let those ideas and the actions that spring from them stand on their merits. Fuck you if you think I'll respect that.