• Religious/Secular Misconceptions

    I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when I saw an interesting status update from Huffington Post Religion that caught my attention. The post asked the following question:

    “If you could get rid of one misconception about your religious / secular tradition, what would that be?”

    First, I want to point out that they actually included “secular tradition.” That is a big improvement. It shows that they recognize that not everyone is religious and that secular individuals often face many of the same issues that religious believers deal with. In this case, those issues are misconceptions.

    There were about 150 comments left on this post and I read pretty much all of them. I learned a lot too. For starters, there are a lot of atheists who commented on the post. Also, there were more Wiccans, Pagans, and Buddhists than I thought there would be.

    Christians generally commented that they didn’t like the misconception that they were all right wing fundamentalists who take the Bible literally and are anti-gay. I get that. But I take issue with a metaphorical interpretation of the Bible too. Plus, there are parts of the Bible that even those believers who claim not to take the Bible literally, still believe literally even though those beliefs are ridiculously silly and fly in the face of science and common sense.

    Catholics didn’t like the misconceptions that they agree lockstep with the Pope, that the Pope is infallible, and that priests fuck children. They lost me at that last one. I don’t think that is a common misconception. I think that is a common fact. The misconception is that Catholics aren’t supporting these pedophiles by supporting the Catholic Church. How do you think the church has the money to send these offending priests all over the world to avoid prosecution?

    The misconception that Muslims are violent and oppress women seems to bother a lot for Muslims. I’ll give them a pass on the first part but not the second. Islam (even liberal Islam) still oppresses women. It’s just a difference of degrees.

    The Mormons mentioned all the usual misconceptions. They don’t consider themselves a cult nor do they like when people bring up polygamy. I’ll give them a pass on the second part, but not on the first. Okay, I’ll give them half a pass on the first. If you compare Mormonism to all the other religions and single out Mormonism as a cult, that is just not cool. But if you bring up that all religions are cults, then I am right there with you.

    As for atheists, most of us seem to put that we disliked the misconception that we were immoral and the misconception that we are certain or have to somehow prove that a particular deity doesn’t exist. I have to admit that I also posted those comments before I read through the entire thread and saw that all the other atheists pretty much said the same thing.

    What misconceptions get on your nerves?

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    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

    8 comments

    1. I’m an atheist, and I hear a lot that I’m hateful for pointing out the flaws and harm in religion. A lot of people mistake us hating them as individuals, rather than their practices and belief system. I don’t have enough time for hate, and that’s a strong accusation to make, considering how much I care about my family and community.

    2. You got the misconception that rankles me most: morality! I’m an atheist but I’m perfectly willing to live by the following 4 tenets of the New Testament: Do unto others – Love your neighbor as you love yourself – Turn the other cheek – Judge not

      Never met a Christian who believed all four – especially that turn the other cheek thingy or Judge not – all these people do is judge others

    3. 1) That science is out to destroy religion. It’s not science’s fault if all the data shows that religions are wrong. That’s just the way it is.

      2) The the religious are better (more moral) than atheists. Everyone has touched on this already. But I’d just like to add that the religious who are good, are good out of fear. Atheists are good because the want to be. That’s in general. There are evil atheists and evil Christians.

    4. If we truly understood science, we would readdress the way in which we set ourselves up to trigger cognitive believer-bias that stems from their need to feel that they understand their world. Education should never start with telling another that they are ‘full of shit’, but it should start with an honest desire to improve the understanding of those being educated.

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