Friday, December 14, 2007

quick question for you

I was talking to my brother last night (which is about the coolest thing ever since he lives in Perth) and he was wondering, which got me to thinking, (something I delight in)...

What is the religious equivalent of racism???

If you see a person you've never personally met before, say an African American, and immediately assign all kinds of negative traits to them because of their skin color, that is racist.

So.... if you see someone you've never personally met before, wearing a cross, driving around with an "I heart Jesus" bumper sticker, and St. Francis of Assisi dangling from their rear view mirror, and immediately assign all kinds of negatives traits to them, that is... what?

Aside from being correct, insightful, spot on, and a safe assumption, what exactly is that called?

Bigot is a possibility. But bigot is a bit all encompassing.

Bigot-A person who is intolerant, especially in matters of religion, race, or politics. (Politics? Weird. If a person says "Only an idiot is a Republican" that makes them a bigot?????)

Anyway.... What is the correct term for a person who is prejudiced against the religious, whether it is specific to one religion or all religions in general?????


Richard said...

I think it's "bigot".

Atheism is, as Johnny makes very clear, only a rejection of God's existence. It is not necessarily a rational position. So some atheists are bigots, intolerant of religion yet their position is just as much a matter of faith as that of the religious believer. Heck, that even occurs among many Objectivists.

Xavier Onassis said...

I would probably agree with bigot. And, now that you've pointed it out, I would have to plead guilty to the bigotry described. I will strive to recognize it and overcome it.

Fiery said...

Somehow I doubt you'll overcome your hatred of the Republicans. But far be it from me to be a naysayer.... Good luck with that!


Poodles said...

I think since I am married to a catholic and every one in my family is still a christian of some sort, I don't find myself judging base on a neck cross. But those damn horrible jesus fish drivers. ;p

Fiery said...

I think, for me, with neck crosses it is how much it slaps you across the face. Whether it is prominently displayed or discreet, 3" high or a small dainty thing.

I wore a neck cross for 10+ years, but only "displayed it" for dressy occassions, otherwise it was under my shirt. It was a personal item not something I flaunted to the world. Makes me wonder about those who choose to wear them like bling.

evolveintobirds said...

Frankly, I think that the people that tend to be most guilty of religious bigotry are the religious themselves. Many Protestants think the Catholics are evil papists doomed to hell, the Pentecostal and Baptist types tend to think Methodists are doomed to hell, you have Armenian vs. Calvinist, you have Catholics calling E. Orthodox the "withered branch"...they all go around judging their "brothers and sisters in Christ" as less than. And that's just within xtianity.

I think what we atheists feel when we see the religious behaving stupidly is more along the lines of superciliousness.

Richard said...

EvolveIntoBirds, you've a great point. The various sects of Middle Eastern Muslims have been murderous bigots for centuries.

But then, religion is not exactly a haven of rational thought, so bigotry is almost a necessity for them, whether acted upon or not.

When two men of faith disagree they have no means for resolution or agreement. Neither has reason or known facts of reality on his side. The only options they have are to walk away or beat each others' brains out.

Fiery said...

EIBirds- I had to grab the dictionary for supercilious as I had always thought it meant something similar to extraneous.

Boy was I wrong and what a great word to describe a typical atheist response to a fundy.

supercilious- characterized by haughty scorn, disdainful.

I suppose another word more specific than bigot might be "anti-theist". Suggests a more active and all encompassing dislike instead of position of disbelief.

T&A said...

I have to agree with Evolveintobirds and Richard.
Just look at how Mike Huckabee is using religious bigotry against Mitt Romney to gain votes in Iowa! (Although I can't say I feel bad for Romney)

Richard: I've been reading a fascinating book about the Shia and Sunni rivalry. It's called "The Shia Revival" by Vali Nasr. My opinion of Islam hasn't changed, but I am, in awe of the complexity of that faith and devotion that it's followers pay to it.

The distrust and hatered between these two sects is deep and enduring. I for one don't for see any peace coming to the region any time soon...

Richard said...

Elsewhere I quoted Oscar Wilde as saying, "Only a fool does not judge others by their appearance." It applies to what they wear and how they wear it.

I think the same applies with a person who wears a cross, a turban, a yarmulke, a hijab, skater-boy clothes, ghetto black clothes, a sloppy suit, a sharp clean suit, janitor pants worn above the navel, a 'tent' dress & no make-up on a normal build university student, perfectly fitted jeans and top with subtle make up on another.

No, none of these things amount to a sign that each person's entire character is being displayed. However, they do signal certain elements of character and self image that may or may not matter depending on what sort of relationship you hope to develop with them.

Judging a person in context is sensible discrimination, not bigotry. How important is it that your accountant wears a yarmulke and is a dedicated Jew? Not much at all, so skip that and examine his accounting abilities, &c. On the other hand it might not be a good idea to have that man as your Middle East sales rep for Lebanon.