Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Deconstructing an Image, Building and destroying

I was originally was going to title this blog post "If you really believe this crap, you should probably unfriend me." I saw this image, not for the first time, on the feed of someone I considered a friend.

I was told, also not for the first time, not to take it so seriously. I'd like to deconstruct this image and explain just why the image and the sharing of it are offensive to people you know.

I'd like to start out by saying, (because I see this EVERY.TIME someone mentions that a certain turn of phrase is offensive), that I'm certainly not saying you "can't" post this or say all you want against religion.Of course you can. I strongly support free speech, and  I have no power to stop you anyway. Aside from that, I'd rather know if you're an ignoramus who thinks that I'm going to teach your kids young Earth creationism, at best, and bomb you to Hell , at worst, because I'm a religious person, I'd like to know that. Just as you have the right to say it, I have the right to point out that you're being intolerant.

On to the image. The first thing it does is fuel the inaccurate stereotype that religion and science are necessarily at odds. Like most religious people I know, I fully accept evolution. Don't presume you can know a person's stance on science because they happen to belong to an organised religion.

The second, and perhaps worst thing it does, is paint all religious people with the same crazy hate brush. It doesn't say "religious extremists". It doesn't say " some religious people". It doesn't even say "Muslims". The wording of the image does NOTHING to tell me the creator makes any distinction between an extreme jihadist and the Catholic Worker who chains herself to a missile.

Lastly, it pays no attention to the role of people, whether religious or not, played in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. From the first responders to the people who rebuilt, it was PEOPLE. People of strong religious faith, people with strong faith that humans were their own agency, and everything in between. Those PEOPLE are the ones who did the rebuilding and they come from all paths of belief.

Now, I get that if you've had bad experiences with religious people, you may very well get a chuckle or nod your head in agreement when you see such comments. Hey, I laugh at ALL kinds of things I know are too offensive to share.But think before you post such things. Who will you be offending? Why would you even be friends with them if you feel that way about "people like them"? If it helps, mentally replace the word "religious", or a specific religion, with an ethnicity, or gay, or disabled. Would you still say it?

See also: Crazy Hate Brush


I wanted to edit this in light of a comment a friend made in regard to this post. The friend stated that "Religious people should be ashamed of the atrocities committed in the name of their religion" This is my response:

 I think it would be more useful to say religious people should be mindful of those atrocities, and that all abuses of power, whether by religious or secular authorities, should be condemned by people whether religious or secular.(And brought to light, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and if needed, see the hierarchy changed to prevent further abuse.) While I feel horror and disgust at abuses of power, to suggest I ought to feel "shame" would be like me suggesting scientists should feel shame at how everyone from slaveowners to the Nazi party twisted science to claim some people are less human than others (while many of those people risking or losing their lives to save and liberate happened to be Christians) . I would sound silly I f I said that, wouldn't I?


At 5:58 PM, Blogger Lone Star Ma said...

I like this post.

I understand why people get paranoid about "religious people', as I live in a state where a few whack jobs are trying hard to dictate science out of the nation's textbooks, etc. - but whack jobs are not "religious people" - they are whack jobs and they come in all sorts of belief systems or lack thereof.


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