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Religious tolerance

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Philip

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Reading that it is LGBT+ history month, I was thinking about why it seems there isn't the same level of acceptance or respect for people's religion or faith, particularly in this country? And when/if is this likely to change?

Progress has been made in moving away from homophobic language/behaviour within the last 50 years, more so in the last 20; currently racism is in the spotlight and hopefully this too is firmly moving in the right direction even if there is still a long way to go; sexism including women's rights made a lot of progress in the 20th century; mental health is receiving greater support and coverage now than it was before, partly helped by the pandemic. But as far as religion is concerned, it feels, if anything, like things are going slowly in the wrong direction.

A person's faith, or lack of, is something that is personal to them. However, there does seem to be an undercurrent in this country of either ridicule, unease, or even just general resentment towards people of just about all religions or faiths; and currently not a huge amount seems to be being done to stand up to it from the powers that be. I won't go into some of the more unsavoury examples but a broader theme is that people who believe in God are 'crazy', 'not living in the real world' etc. If similar questioning/ridiculing statements were made across social media towards a footballer who announced they were gay, or if an MP came out with homophobic comments in the commons, then the people making the discriminatory remarks would be hung, drawn and quartered. But when it comes to religion, particularly towards Christianity, it feels like there is more tolerance to discrimination against people with these beliefs.
 
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richa2002

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It pretty much comes down to what suits the marxist agenda that is seemingly dominant these days in government and corporations. Religion, which by its nature tends to be conservative, doesn't assist in these goals. Marxists want the state to be God so as to increase its control and influence over the population.
 

Philip

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Pope Francis has done a lot of good in highlighting inequality and poverty across the globe, and highlighting the awareness to care for our common home and is much less conservative than his predecessor, but some people seem to be critical and discriminatory just for the sake of it.
 

Mag_seven

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As much as I loath intolerance of any type, religions can hardly be described as bastions of tolerance can they?
 

Philip

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As much as I loath intolerance of any type, religions can hardly be described as bastions of tolerance can they?

Can any institution? This isn't really the point anyway, two wrongs don't make a right and all that.
 

Journeyman

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As someone who was a hardcore Christian for 25 years, and who was badly damaged by the experience, I can confidently say churches are frequently a hotbed of ignorance, prejudice and hostility to anyone who doesn't fit a neat, tidy conservative norm.

If churches want respect, it's a two-way street.
 

Philip

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Do you have any examples of this?

The post above mine! Seems to be a lot of generalising based on individual experiences.

I'll give a worldwide example; Cardinal Pell was jailed after being found guilty of sexual abuse against children and there was much vilification across the media, although not from the Pope who continued to support Cardinal Pell by waiting until the appeal was heard on grounds of poor evidence, before removing Pell from priesthood. Cardinal Pell was then cleared of all charges and released, but the focus from the media was still of the outrage of the decision from his 'vicitms' and others.
 

Journeyman

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The post above mine! Seems to be a lot of generalising based on individual experiences.

I'll give a worldwide example; Cardinal Pell was jailed after being found guilty of sexual abuse against children and there was much vilification across the media, although not from the Pope who continued to support Cardinal Pell by waiting until the appeal was heard on grounds of poor evidence, before removing Pell from priesthood. Cardinal Pell was then cleared of all charges and released, but the focus from the media was still of the outrage of the decision from his 'vicitms' and others.
His victims are still victims, regardless of how good or bad the evidence is. A close family member of mine was horrifically and repeatedly abused as a child, and bravely took it to the police recently, but the case was thrown out due to the amount of time that has passed.

Oddly enough, the damage this cretin did is still here, and we have every right to be angry about it.
 

Philip

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His victims are still victims, regardless of how good or bad the evidence is. A close family member of mine was horrifically and repeatedly abused as a child, and bravely took it to the police recently, but the case was thrown out due to the amount of time that has passed.

Oddly enough, the damage this cretin did is still here, and we have every right to be angry about it.

How can you say they are still victims when he was cleared of all the charges? Have you read the case in detail?
 

Journeyman

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How can you say they are still victims when he was cleared of all the charges?
Because if he did what he did, it's irrelevant if he was cleared - the damage has still been done. In my example, I pointed out how a family member was abused by a paedophile who wasn't convicted due to lack of evidence. His victim was still abused.

If he's abused people and is only free on a technicality, it's hardly going to make them feel better is it?

I think you need to think very carefully before you carry on down this road.
 

Philip

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Because if he did what he did, it's irrelevant if he was cleared - the damage has still been done. In my example, I pointed out how a family member was abused by a paedophile who wasn't convicted due to lack of evidence. His victim was still abused.

I'm not talking about your family member, I'm talking about Cardinal Pell; two completely separate cases. What if the accusations were indeed all lies as the court has decided?
 

Journeyman

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I'm not talking about your family member, I'm talking about Cardinal Pell; two completely separate cases. What if the accusations were indeed all lies as the court has decided?
What if they weren't?

Going forward to report historic abuse takes incredible bravery. It isn't something anyone would take lightly, and I have a feeling you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about here. Honestly, step away. You're about to get into extremely offensive territory, and I would advise you not to.
 

yorkie

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I'll give a worldwide example; Cardinal Pell was jailed after being found guilty of sexual abuse against children and there was much vilification across the media, although not from the Pope who continued to support Cardinal Pell by waiting until the appeal was heard on grounds of poor evidence, before removing Pell from priesthood. Cardinal Pell was then cleared of all charges and released, but the focus from the media was still of the outrage of the decision from his 'vicitms' and others.
I have just looked him up and he seems to be a thoroughly unpleasant individual. Even ignoring the many charges against him, he has acted in an appalling way in many areas and said many unpleasant things over the years.

If the treatment of Cardinall Pell is the best example you can come up with, then you will have to forgive me for being unconvinced by your argument.
 

Journeyman

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I have just looked him up and he seems to be a thoroughly unpleasant individual. Even ignoring the many charges against him, he has acted in an appalling way in many areas and said many unpleasant things over the years.

If the treatment of Cardinall Pell is the best example you can come up with, then you will have to forgive me for being unconvinced by your argument.
I'm of the opinion we should close this thread.
 

Cowley

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I'm not talking about your family member, I'm talking about Cardinal Pell; two completely separate cases. What if the accusations were indeed all lies as the court has decided?
There’s a vast difference between lies and a lack of evidence.
 

Philip

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What if they weren't?

Going forward to report historic abuse takes incredible bravery. It isn't something anyone would take lightly, and I have a feeling you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about here. Honestly, step away. You're about to get into extremely offensive territory, and I would advise you not to.

Well, you're providing a very good example as to my point in this thread.

Yes, incredible bravery if you're not making the whole thing up. What do you call it if the accusers are lying because they have some score to settle against the church/cleric?
 

Journeyman

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There’s a vast difference between lies and a lack of evidence.
Indeed there is. Many get away with (literally) murder because of the latter. Yes, some go away for serious crimes because of false accusations, but the number is tiny.
 

Philip

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I have just looked him up and he seems to be a thoroughly unpleasant individual. Even ignoring the many charges against him, he has acted in an appalling way in many areas and said many unpleasant things over the years.

If the treatment of Cardinall Pell is the best example you can come up with, then you will have to forgive me for being unconvinced by your argument.
Just because he might be an unpleasant individual doesn't mean he should be subject to the no smoke without fire brigade if he is innocent. And ultimately it was the justice system who decided he was innocent of all the charges.
 

najaB

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Reading that it is LGBT+ history month, I was thinking about why it seems there isn't the same level of acceptance or respect for people's religion or faith, particularly in this country? And when/if is this likely to change?
Have you any personal experience of religious intolerance? In my experience, unless someone is actively proselyting their faith (or lack thereof) is really a non-issue that rarely, if ever, comes up.

Edit: The above, of course, doesn't apply to those who follow Islam. The right wing media has done a good job of making every Muslim into a potential suicide bomber.
 
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yorkie

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@Philip you've not provided any references in the form of a hyperlink and quote so to follow your argument, I can only go by what you are saying here, which is rather vague.

I had to look this individual up myself, and - notwithstanding the debate about whether or not he should or shouldn't be judged for what he was accused of doing - what I found is that he appears to be an absolutely thoroughly unpleasant individual in a wide range of areas.

If your point was a valid one, I'd expect you to be able to quote at least one or two better examples than this extremely odious character. And, for the avoidance of doubt, I am referring to him as odious for things he did do, not including anything he is alleged to have done that is unproven, and I would say this regardless of religion.

And also, rather ironically, I note that Pell does not appear to be particularly tolerant of Islam.
 

Philip

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Have you any personal experience of religious intolerance? In my experience, unless someone is actively proselyting their faith (or lack thereof) is really a non-issue that rarely, if ever, comes up.
I have known personally of others attending a church who have had "bible bashers" shouted at them from the street. And a priest local to my region was subject to a false accusation and subsequently acquitted.

@Philip you've not provided any references in the form of a hyperlink and quote so to follow your argument, I can only go by what you are saying here, which is rather vague.

I had to look this individual up myself, and - notwithstanding the debate about whether or not he should or shouldn't be judged for what he was accused of doing - what I found is that he appears to be an absolutely thoroughly unpleasant individual in a wide range of areas.

If your point was a valid one, I'd expect you to be able to quote at least one or two better examples than this extremely odious character. And, for the avoidance of doubt, I am referring to him as odious for things he did do, not including anything he is alleged to have done that is unproven, and I would say this regardless of religion.

And also, rather ironically, I note that Pell does not appear to be particularly tolerant of Islam.
Well, I have this link referring to the acquittal. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-52183157

Edit, ok I'll take back Cardinal Pell from the argument, not to cast doubt about the acquittal, but because it isn't the best example to use and yes he probably hasn't helped himself with some of his remarks/views.
 
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najaB

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I have known personally of others attending a church who have had "bible bashers" shouted at them from the street.
That's unusual, but I'd place money on the people who shouted being generally antisocial and they probably also shout racist and/or homophobic things too.
And a priest local to my region was subject to a false accusation and subsequently acquitted.
How do you know that the accusation was motivated by antitheistic sentiment?
 

yorkie

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I have known personally of others attending a church who have had "bible bashers" shouted at them from the street.
Clearly, people should not be doing that. Is this a widespread issue in the UK or an isolated matter?

Well, I have this link referring to the acquittal. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-52183157
Everyone should be entitled to a fair trial. But I am yet to see any evidence that any aspect of the accusations and/or the trial itself was related to religious intolerance. I am not saying it wasn't, but just that you have not provided any evidence that it was.

But even if he is entirely innocent of all charges against him, he is on record as saying all sorts of really nasty things that someone in his position really should not be saying. It also seems ironic that you are using this individual as the best example you can come up with when discussing the matter of religious intolerance, when he appears to have expressed views that bring his own religious tolerance into question, as well as comments that are intolerant in many other ways, including:

"....Homosexual activity is a much greater health hazard than smoking."
 

Philip

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That's unusual, but I'd place money on the people who shouted being generally antisocial and they probably also shout racist and/or homophobic things too.

How do you know that the accusation was motivated by antitheistic sentiment?

I didn't say it was.

Ok, to provide a more general example, I have ventured onto the digital spy forum from time to time and there is lot of discussion about religion for some reason and it does seem that a large proportion of comments could be deemed disrespectful towards someone who is religious, without much provocation. Phrases like "fairy in the sky" "crackpots who believe in God" are on the milder side of things. I have experienced in my workplace comments like "90% of clergy are child abusers" which annoys me as it is generalisation and tarnishing many innocent people.

Clearly, people should not be doing that. Is this a widespread issue in the UK or an isolated matter?


Everyone should be entitled to a fair trial. But I am yet to see any evidence that any aspect of the accusations and/or the trial itself was related to religious intolerance. I am not saying it wasn't, but just that you have not provided any evidence that it was.

But even if he is entirely innocent of all charges against him, he is on record as saying all sorts of really nasty things that someone in his position really should not be saying. It also seems ironic that you are using this individual as the best example you can come up with when discussing the matter of religious intolerance, when he appears to have expressed views that bring his own religious tolerance into question, as well as comments that are intolerant in many other ways, including:


Admittedly just an isolated matter. Like I say Cardinal Pell was a case that came into my head, but perhaps not the best example on reflection. Even so, from a personal point of view I have heard comments in the workplace like the above I have mentioned which would probably be a sackable offence if used in a different context.
 
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But when it comes to religion, particularly towards Christianity, it feels like there is more tolerance to discrimination against people with these beliefs.

Due to the secularisation (NOT sectorisation....!) of a large part of Western society, there is currently a lack of awareness of just how much of it (Western Society) is underpinned by its Judeo-Christian origins, Human Rights for example, even when nowadays these ideas are couched in secular language.

An excellent recent book about this is Dominion by Tom Holland .

The Catholic Church's appalling record on child abuse (rightly) makes it an obvious target but those chasing monsters should be wary of turning into one themselves.

Nietzsche - The Gay Science - Section 125 said:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

Nietzsche's full quote reveals a somewhat different vision to what some people often assume after hearing the shortened version.

Now as Dave Allen once said, 'May your God go with you...'
 

DB

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I don't actually think there is any widespread hostility towards people believing whatever they want.

What there is increasing hostility towards is the way in which various religious organisations demand that they and their beliefs are treated with what they term 'respect' (which actually means 'not questioned'). They, and many religious indiviuals, also often expect that society constantly treats them as a 'special case' and grants them dispensations or extra privileges - often this takes the form of demanding to be allowed to discriminate against women / gay people, etc. Society is becoming less and less willing to allow them to carry on like this - and rightly so. They also see and present themselves as moral arbiters, when their behaviour is generally no better and often worse than that of anyone else. And they can't mind their own business - the CofE particularly is always poking its nose into things.

I am not religious and never have been, but in the past I have had a lot of involvement with the CofE and regard it as a deeply unpleasant institution as a result - it has considerable political influence (the UK is one of only two countries with seats in the central legislature being reserved for the state religion, the other being Iran), and vast wealth. It is structured so that it is almost impossible to hold it to account, as the centralised approach is only used when it suits them, resorting to the federated model when that is more in their interests. This means that, for example, complaints about behaviour at a particular church can generally only be dealt with by complaining to that church (complete lack of impartiality likely as a result). Complaints about clergy can be made to the relevant bishop under the Clergy Discipline Measure, but that is both so vague and sets the bar so high that it's difficult to make anything stick unless it's very serious and there's plenty of evidence. Despite being a state body, the CofE is not subject to the Freedom of Information act, and they routinely hide behind flat refusals to answer questions.

So basically no, I don't think there is increasing intolerance. Just that religious beliefs are no longer placed on the pedestal which they were. If organisations like the CofE just wind their neck in, stop interfering and preaching, and show the normal levels of accountability which would be accepted of any secular organisation then they'd find that most of the criticism would go away. Unfortunately there seems to be far too much arrogance to allow that to happen, though.

Due to the secularisation (NOT sectorisation....!) of a large part of Western society, there is currently a lack of awareness of just how much of it (Western Society) is underpinned by its Judeo-Christian origins, Human Rights for example, even when nowadays these ideas are couched in secular language.

Human Rights are largely a result of the Age of Enlightenment and the development of secular democracies. Let's face it, there's little evidence for human rights in the old testament, and throughout history (including to the present day) theocracies are not exactly noted as bastions of human rights, are they?
 

najaB

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I didn't say it was.
Well you mentioned it in response to my questioning if you had examples of religious intolerance so I don't know how else it could be taken. As a further question, was the person who made the false allegation known for expressing anti-religious attitudes/behaviours?

Due to the secularisation (NOT sectorisation....!) of a large part of Western society, there is currently a lack of awareness of just how much of it (Western Society) is underpinned by its Judeo-Christian origins, Human Rights for example, even when nowadays these ideas are couched in secular language.
I would counter that Judeo-Christianity simply is one of many codifications of evolutionarily-advantageous codes of behaviour which can also be found in Islam, Hinduism and the religious strictures of many indigenous peoples. Many of those Judeo-Christian principles were expressed by Hammurabi over a thousand years before Christ was said to have walked the Earth.
 
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ComUtoR

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Cardinal Pell. Just one among how many ?

A rather large part of the argument against the actions of the church is the historic abuses by many and the church turning a blind eye and in many cases actively witholding evidence and/or completely covering it up. Abuse aside, I find it quite abhorent that various members of the do not act in, well, good faith.

Just a couple for you.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-52480133 (beaking lockdown)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/15/north-london-church-defies-lockdown-to-hold-service (selling fake cure)
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41566561 (ethnic clensing)


Following on from others I too have found my personal experience with the church to be very lacking and at times quite horrifying. I was going church from the day I was born. My family were quite religious and I regularly attended a Baptist, Methodist, and an Evangelical Church. When I was at school we had a small chapel on site and there were services daily and a full service on Sunday. When my family fell on hard times we were helped directly from the local church we attended with a small handout. Church has very much been part of my life. Sadly over the years it has become a place where people seem to hide behind their religion rather than celebrate it.

Religion, not specifically Church of England/Christian/Catholic hasn't evolved and I would agree with another comment in this thread that religion is filled with intollerance and bigotry. Tollerance is something that should work both ways and I would say that I tollerate the church and those who whold their religious beliefs. You are absolutly free to do as you please right up until the point you have to then interact with others.

A good example is :


Whilst they have a right to not bake the cake because it doesn't reflect their views, it does reflect their intollerance towards others.
 

DynamicSpirit

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A person's faith, or lack of, is something that is personal to them. However, there does seem to be an undercurrent in this country of either ridicule, unease, or even just general resentment towards people of just about all religions or faiths; and currently not a huge amount seems to be being done to stand up to it from the powers that be.

I would suggest one problem is that religion and faith covers a very broad range of beliefs:

  • At one end of the scale you have the more progressive Christian churches that contain many thoughtful individuals, and which often do a lot of good in terms of campaigning on issues like poverty. Those churches and individuals happen to believe something about the nature of the Universe and its implications for how we should live our lives that most atheists would disagree with, but that shouldn't be any more than a respectful difference of beliefs.
  • At the other end of the scale you have the right-wing USA mega-churches that have turned Christian faith into a vehicle for supporting Donald Trump, so-called gun-rights, and pushing out swathes of disinformation about science and outright falsehoods about current events. Add to that newer churches outside the traditional denominational organisations in both the UK and the US that seem to have turned faith into a business designed to line the pockets of their self-appointed leaders, and which often preach fairly intolerant messages towards - for example - gays.

I imagine there is a similar spectrum in the Muslim world, though I have less knowledge of that. Realistically, the two ends of the spectrum are very different. One end I would argue really does deserve condemnation (not because of their faith, but because of their unethical practices and pushing out of fake news etc.); the other end of the spectrum does deserve a lot more respect than it tends to be given.

Unfortunately, and understandably, it's often difficult for people outside of any movement to distinguish between often vast differences within that movement - and the result is that people at the more thoughtful/progressive end of religious belief get tarred with a brush that they don't really deserve.
 
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