I was recently inspired by a discussion on Youtube by Dawkins and Krauss. I have to say that it was one of the most enlightening and moving discussions I have ever heard so far, and I admire them both for their courage to be up there talking with such conviction in front of thousands of people who may or may not agree with them. It was a discussion with so many wonderful points made and eye-opening facts that my brain didn’t quite know what to do with itself. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ll put a link to it at the end of this post.
The discussion was titled “Something From Nothing”. I know the topic can create some heat, but the title is not the subject that I aim to write about today. Something else came up in their dialogue that I think is a wonderful, truthful point that I wish more people would understand and have the courage to do in their daily lives: utilizing their right to question beliefs. Any beliefs. I am not pointing the finger at Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism. I mean any beliefs on the face of our planet Earth. I strongly feel that if you are going around saying “I am a Christian” or “I follow ‘x’ set of beliefs” then it should be no problem for you to explain those beliefs and be able to back up why you believe those things.
I am sick of hearing people argue for their faith without actually answering direct questions about it. One question I pose often to Christians is whether or not they truly believe all of the “miraculous” stories in the bible. I want to know if they take that, like everything else in the bible, as fact. Infuriatingly, in most instances all that happens is huffing, puffing and avoiding the questions because they’re so offended by the asking of the question itself.
If you are going to label yourself as one thing or another, nobody has the right to feel offended just because someone is questioning the things you stand for. If you can answer in a rational and logical way, good for you. Perhaps the person asking will learn something or find a new perspective on the topic. If you can’t, I think you need to take a serious look at your beliefs and what exactly you stand for. To me, it is impossible for your beliefs or yourself to be taken seriously at that point. If you feel strongly about something, there must be a reason, and if that reason is simply “that’s your belief” – that’s just plain not good enough. Be an adult Just because it is your “personal belief” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be accountable for it.
For instance, I believe in animal welfare. I work every day to make the lives of the animals in my care better. Why do I believe this? Because it is fundamentally and morally wrong to neglect or abuse other creatures who depend on us for their basic needs. The Golden Rule is one to be followed, and I would challenge anyone to argue that.
Politicians will often use their religious beliefs in their political platform, and Krauss talked about this in the video. I believe he made a great point in saying that perhaps it is alright for that politician to have those personal beliefs, but the second he uses it on his political platform he is fair game for the media or whoever to question them. If you want to put those beliefs in the public eye and use them to your advantage, it is not wrong for someone to question them and being offended at that point is incredibly hypocritical.
Dawkins had a slightly different opinion. He was of the mind that any personal belief is open for discussion or questioning, regardless of it being in the public eye or not. I can see where he is coming from here as well because even on my little blog, I feel a strong need to defend or rationalize my thoughts to anyone who questions or argues against them. If I have a belief, I should be able to back it up and state why I think that way.
The beautiful part about the discussion between these two men is that even when they disagree, they can do so in such a civilized, respectful manner that it’s quite refreshing to watch. They both discuss why they believe each point, and can have a lively and engaging debate without the flinging of mud or bruised egos that so often come with debates on controversial topics. I think it’s disgusting that there a certain religions, and I won’t pick on one, that people are afraid to talk about for fear of physical or verbal retribution. Blindly following anything with no room for inquiry or advancement is not something I consider appealing and I have a hard time understanding why it’s desirable.
Always remember: just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.
A question posed by an audience member also really got me thinking and I am glad he was able to say this: if as many people watched this two hour video as watched the Super Bowl, the world would be a better place. If you watched the video, I think you would also agree. See for yourself by clicking here. I would love to hear what anyone reading this thinks of the video as well. Please feel free to comment or email with your thoughts!