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Sacred Exemption?

February 12th, 2011 2 comments
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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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