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Sacred Exemption?

February 12th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was always told to avoid talk of religion.  It seems that most people avoid the topic, as if lightening were going to strike them. Clearly, religion creates some huge divides among us. You’d expect, given that we’re a “civilized society”, we’d be able to engage in discussion about those things that make us different.  Groups coming together to discuss their differences often find that they have a lot more in common than what separates them.

What’s my point?  I think we need to have these discussions – not debates – discussions.  Let’s leave the debates out of it because that inherently implies that a side aims for victory.  Discussions give us an opportunity to understand another perspective, even if we don’t necessarily agree with it.  New understandings can only serve to make us wiser.

So, I ask:  Should the sacred and holy be exempt from critical engagement?  What about satirical commentary?

Here’s some ideas to think about:
– Is there a difference between critique and satire? Is it okay to question religion, but not mock it?
– Can we really talk about offending or challenging a specific religion when within each religious tradition there is much diversity among its adherents?
– Is criticism of belief any different than criticism of non-belief?
– Are we able to draw a line around what is open for critical engagement concerning religion – and if so, is that line arbitrary?

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve added some images below to really get those gears grinding. Seems the religious debate is alive and well on the highways and streets…

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  1. mae
    February 12th, 2011 at 17:56 | #1

    @Doug Smith
    I believe the anonymity that the Internet affords will work two-fold. It will allow those who were unable to be “heard” to have a “voice”, and it will serve to make “voices” stronger. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of studies come out designed to measure the change or stability of one’s real-world personality versus their virtual personality. Do lambs become lions when shielded by the keyboard and monitor?

    Thanks for the link!

    “At the end of the day, it’s always going to be a draw, each of us convinced that our own arguments are superior and that the other is (perhaps willfully) missing the point.”

    “We still have a lot to discuss. Let’s do it with a caring heart, and open mind and a spirit of appreciation for our shared humanity.” – Rabbi Adam Jacobs

  2. Doug Smith
    February 12th, 2011 at 12:42 | #2

    I think the internet has been a driving force for the last 10-15years in manipulating, exposing and amplifying the discussions/debates. It should be interesting to see how globalization and world wide communication shapes a new consciousness on the topic. It may polarize or soften the tone.

    Here is what it looks like now (was reading this yesterday):

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