Inspired by an exchange of comments with Gregory
A discussion, perhaps sparked initially by this comment by Gregory, developed between Gregory and me over apatheism, religious belief and freedom of conscience in a thread not intended for such discussions so I thought I’d start a separate thread. From some of Gregory’s remarks, I understood him to suggest I hadn’t made enough of an effort in understanding Christianity and if I were to make such an effort, I might begin to change my views. I seemed to be having trouble conveying my point to Gregory who was also taking offence and claiming I was insulting him. As in many of my disagreements, online and face-to-face, my best lines pop into my head some time after a discussion has ended. In mulling over the, in my view unfair, accusation that I was insulting him, an analogy that might have helped occurred to me. What if it were a pink dress?
What I was trying to explain to Gregory is that sometimes you just do not have a use for something, no matter how attractive, stylish, appealing it is to others. So, Gregory, I don’t need a pink dress. I would never wear a pink dress. I have no objection whatever to those who wish to get themselves a pink dress and wear it with pride. Pink just does not suit me.
Extending the analogy, I also object to the idea of a dress code. The wearers of pink dresses should be protected by law in going about their business pinkly clad. But they should not expect others who do not share their love of pink to join in. Pink dress wearers and non-pinks should be treated equally.
In the past, I’ve used an analogy with smoking, I realise now that was a bit pejorative in comparing religious belief to an addiction. I hope those of a religious persuasion will find this a better analogy. I am happy for anyone to follow their own conscience. I am utterly unable to see the attraction myself but I strongly support the right of those who do to be able to practice their religion of choice. I expect the reciprocal courtesy of
not* being equally free to follow my own conscience.
However there are two issued (closely related) regarding religious freedom. Firstly, where religious groups have enough political influence for it to impinge on the freedom of others. Secondly, whether parents have an untrammelled right over how their children’s education treats religious belief. This is a hard conundrum for me and I’m not sure where legal lines should be drawn and safeguards introduced. Trying to indoctrinate my own child would be anathema to me but other parents appear to regard it as their mission. I’d be very interested to hear from others with a view on this and look forward to reading your comments.