Join discussions on moving to and living in the USVI, ask questions, share info & tips! (Vacationing? Visit Travel Message Board)


Respecting the beliefs of others

avatar

rotorhead
October 10, 2012 03:34PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,440

Respecting the beliefs of others is a hot topic these days. The Muslim world seems to think that we must all respect their prophet and be careful what we say about him. They are going so far as to propose new rules in the United Nations that would limit free speech rights when it comes to religion. Should blasphemy be a crime?

Is this right? Should we be required to respect the beliefs of others or should we only be required to respect their right to have those beliefs? In my opinion people should be able to believe anything that they wish, however a belief is nothing more than an opinion and an opinion is something that is subject to questioning.

As an example. If you were to talk to an aboriginal person about their beliefs and they told you that they believe that the earth is a flat disc balanced on the back of a giant turtle, am I required to respect this opinion? This view of the world was widely held among native peoples. If I show them a picture of the earth from space am I engaging in hate speech?

What if they insist that the "Giant Turtle Theory" be taught in our public schools? If over half of the people in the country believe in the giant turtle, and they did at one point, are we all required to learn and respect the giant turtle theory?

How is this different from the "Biblical Creation Theory", the theory that the universe was created 6500 years ago in 6 days? Are we required to respect this theory and allow it to be taught in our public schools? How about the ancient alien theory, you see this theory being described on TV every week?

What level of proof or evidence should be required before an idea is accepted as something that should be respected? Are we required to respect all mythologies? Do the number of believers of a particular mythology determine the validity of a belief or is evidence required?

How do you bring about a change of "belief". When the Roman Empire switched from paganism to Christianity it was ushered in by force. The emperor declared that Christianity was the only true state religion and if you didn't like it well then off with your head! Religious/mythological beliefs have traditionally been spread by force. Look at Latin America. All good Catholics. But not until they were conquered by Spain and Portugal. Look at the Muslim world. All of North Africa conquered by the Muslims and forcefully converted to Islam.

Today we change peoples beliefs not by force but by logic. And not being able to examine beliefs and discuss them is a way of slowing down progress.

Blasphemy is a victimless crime!

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

gringojj
October 10, 2012 04:06PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 334

Great topic rotorhead. I believe anyone should be able to say anything about anything. People should not be afraid of the truth. When it comes to religion I find that religous people have no problem going around trying to spread their beliefs to you, but when you challenge them on what they believe they become very defensive. I always think about the bible stories and such. If someone today was to say that a snake was talking to them, or they were seen talking to a burning bush, or if they claim they speak directly to god, people think that they are crazy. How come these type of things could only have happened in bible times? But if people want to talk down about your god, whoever it may be, is there any proof to back up what they are saying? Like I believe the god of the bible is a murderer. I can back up my claim because in the bible he murdered people. Christians cannot deny that, it is in their book. However if I tell a christian this, they will be upset with me. Am I wrong for believeing this? I could say that god was a drunk and wife beater, but most christians would just dismiss me as nutty, because they know there is no validity to it. I personally would not make a movie about the subject, but if someone else wants to more power to them.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others
avatar

rotorhead
October 10, 2012 04:33PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,440

I agree. In the film "Innocence of Muslims", the prophet is called a pedophile. Are there any facts to back this up?

Muhammad married his wife Ayesha when she was 6 and started having sex with her when she was 9. The prophet was 54. Does this make him a pedophile? By modern standards, yes! Should Muhammad be considered a role model? Not so much so in this respect.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

SunnyCaribe
October 10, 2012 06:45PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 493

You cannot change what people believe, but you can with careful hard work change how they think and the rest will take care of itself, or so I've found. I can't remember when I first grew nauseous over the parlor 'cleverness' and disingenuous trickery of what passes for modern theological thinking, but raising a child to seek, to question, to observe and to learn, in defiance of his or her more strident peers (and all-too-often their mentors) should be enough to make a humanist out of anyone.

To your point, rotor, I do not think any of the abrahamic religions can realistically, honestly, serve as moral touchstones to anyone in the 21st century. And I do not believe that any "belief" deserves any respect at all that it cannot earn on its own merits.

See, for example, This Article.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

gringojj
October 10, 2012 08:35PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 334

I did not want to send my kids to public school here, but could not afford the outrageous tuitions at the private schools. I ended up sending them to a catholic school here. As an ahteist I cringe at the thought of religion being forced upon them. I am all for christian values as I live my life by alot of them. My kids understand that I do not believe in god, so when they come asking me about things they learn in school I explain to them that this is what catholics believe but this is what I believe. That way they get both sides and when they get older they will have the info to decide for themselves. It seems to me if you apply logic and science to religion as you are learning it religion will lose.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

BeachcomberStt
October 10, 2012 09:04PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,010

I love a great myth!

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

dougtamjj
October 10, 2012 09:40PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 2,527

You could always home school. At our home school we teach all religion as part of history. I'm Cherokee so I teach that as well. My son is adopted and his heritage is Celtic. Thor, faeries and leprechauns abound. So much fun. Right now we are studying mid evil times. Merlin and knights of the round table. Mystic stuff. If you really want them to make their own decision, learn with them and discuss it. Encourage them to investigate and research different religions and myths. Understanding and respect of all people is the key. Well rounded and tolerant adults is the result.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others
avatar

rotorhead
October 10, 2012 09:41PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,440

Quote
BeachcomberStt
I love a great myth!

Me too! I prefer Thor to Jesus though. Much better stories.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

dougtamjj
October 10, 2012 09:57PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 2,527

Had a one single date with a not so gentleman, who worshiped Thor. He wore the hammer of Thor around his neck and I have it now. A big block of silver. He hated that I shaved much preferring women Au natural. Very interesting evening. Love my big hammer of silver. LOL.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others
avatar

rotorhead
October 10, 2012 10:16PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,440

I enjoy mythology when taught as mythology. When someone tells me a story which is obviously mythology and represents it as reality they pay a price. I love this short video by Sam Harris. The "pay a price" part is near the end but the video is short.

This video is a debate between a Rabbi and Sam Harris and demonstrates the mental gymnastics that believers go through.



Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

usvichic
October 11, 2012 08:04AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 74

I think that people are afraid of what they don't understand. I think that many radical Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, etc want to force their beliefs on others. If we start allowing one religious or nonreligious group to impose their beliefs on all of mankind vis a vis the Muslims and the UN, we are asking for a heap o trouble!

I do not think we need to respect the beliefs of others only that they have beliefs and that those beliefs may be different from ours. I do think that if schools are going to make concessions for one religion then they need to make concessions for ALL religions. I have sen school calendars that celebrate all religious holidays EXCEPT Christian ones. While I think that recognizing other religious days are fine, if we do that for one religion we need to do that for all religions. If we say no prayer in school, we need to not have any prayer for any group in school, if we say yes you can pray in school then we need to allow prayer for all groups in schools. Why should we even bring religion into schools? Why not just teach a history class and present the world's religions then?

HOWEVER, I do not think we need to go the ACLA(U?) way and take out the mention of God in our pledge of allegiance - that is a matter of history and how the nation was formed. I think that we need to keep that mention in there. It is a part of the history of the US and is important.

I think everyone needs to listen openly and respectfully to each other and maybe then we can actually accomplish good things in this world.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

SunnyCaribe
October 11, 2012 09:26AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 493

If the commerce in religion were taxed even at the low levels corporations enjoy, religious adherents might pay a bit more attention to their "brand" and work to tidy up their public image, condemn and repair the damage they do, and genuinely contribute to society in the ways they only pretend to now.

Quote
usvichic
HOWEVER, I do not think we need to go the ACLA(U?) way and take out the mention of God in our pledge of allegiance - that is a matter of history and how the nation was formed. I think that we need to keep that mention in there. It is a part of the history of the US and is important.

You are right that there is a great deal of history hanging on the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, but that history dates only to 1954 when McCarthyist paranoia and a lengthy campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a roman catholic men's organization, goaded congress into passing unconstitutional legislation to modify it. The pledge, as it now appears, has been ruled unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

Ms Information
October 11, 2012 11:21AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 411

Quote
SunnyCaribe
If the commerce in religion were taxed even at the low levels corporations enjoy, religious adherents might pay a bit more attention to their "brand" and work to tidy up their public image, condemn and repair the damage they do, and genuinely contribute to society in the ways they only pretend to now.

Quote
usvichic
HOWEVER, I do not think we need to go the ACLA(U?) way and take out the mention of God in our pledge of allegiance - that is a matter of history and how the nation was formed. I think that we need to keep that mention in there. It is a part of the history of the US and is important.

You are right that there is a great deal of history hanging on the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, but that history dates only to 1954 when McCarthyist paranoia and a lengthy campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a roman catholic men's organization, goaded congress into passing unconstitutional legislation to modify it. The pledge, as it now appears, has been ruled unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.



I remember when "under god" was added to the pledge. I was in junior high school and there was much discussion regarding it's legality and appropriateness. While being proud to be born a US citizen, I have always cringed at the jingoism/uber nationalism that has caused nearly as many wars as religion. I keep hoping that modern communication will educate the world and bring it closer together. Not happening...even within the US or the VI.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

OldTart
October 11, 2012 12:09PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 6,524

Quote
dougtamjj
At our home school we teach all religion as part of history.

I was raised in England where I went to an all-girls Grammar school. Typical of the time, we had a general assembly in the Great Hall every morning where we sang a couple of hymns and read a couple of chapters from the Old Testament. I think we also did the old, "Our Father Who Art In Heaven" routine but I don't remember in particular any big deal where praying was concerned. Anyway, one of the classroom subjects was, "Religious Knowledge" and my ever-active little sponge of a brain was filled with all sorts of information about al kinds of religions which, in my opinion, formed a wonderful base for the years to come which have always led me to be curious about religious belief systems.

I never did and never will understand the American preoccupation/obsession with ramming Christianity as the be-all and end-all. The basic tenets of the ten commandments always seemed pretty sane and logical to me but every religion/belief I've been exposed to is based on those basic premises. Ask me what my religion is and I haven't a darned clue as I can't find a label which fits and nor do I care to. Not fond of labels anyway. I've had some rib-tickling and befuddling conversations with many people of fervent faith but that's another book!

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

JahRustyFerrari
October 11, 2012 03:14PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 238

Interesting discussion. I don't think that we humans, sitting on this insignificant little speck in the universe (we don't even fully understand the little speck we're siting on, or how we or the speck came to be) should be so bold as to declare, with all finality and conviction, that there is no such thing as "God" and that we, with our pitiful understanding of the universe, have figured out all of the answers.

We have not even achieved the level of simply getting along with the other humans on the pitiful little speck.

We do not have answers to questions that go beyond our "science", such as the recently discovered perfect roundness of our Sun.
We do not know why the moon has a darkside, and what would happen if it didn't, or if this pitiful speck could even support life if the moon was otherwise configured.

We do know that the moon acts as a sort of flywheel to smooth out wobbles of the earth, as happened some years ago when we were a bit off-axis...why did the moon correct the wobble of the earth?

While we argue about trivialities, some unknown entity or force, somewhere, sometime ago, has seen to it that this little round ball can keep us safe and comfortable...all we have to do is take care of it, and each other...and we can't even do that, much less figure out who put the comfy little sphere here and put us on it to enjoy life.

Of course, a person could get flamed and called a tinfoil-hat wearer for bringing up these actual scientific facts that tend to support intelligent design...whatever.

We know that the scientists are busy trying to find a "God" particle.

We know that the universe is vast beyond our human comprehension.

We know that we can only see a certain portion of the light spectrum, and that dogs have better hearing than we do.

We have no idea what is in the light spectrum that we cannot see, and we will never find out because we think we already know everything.

We cannot even figure out the true relationship of our satellite moon to our planet...but we have figured out "God" and everything in the universe, and we can say with finality "There is no God but Walmart, and KMart is his Son"....amazing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2012 03:19PM by JahRustyFerrari.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

Jamison
October 11, 2012 07:43PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,037

I'm surprised at this thread. Most people I meet here are very religious (I'd be surprised by that but most places with less than stellar public schools and high murder rates are usually religious).

I can't think of anything so special humans do to deserve to have their own "god". I'll just do right by others and see what happens.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

gringojj
October 11, 2012 08:47PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 334

"Interesting discussion. I don't think that we humans, sitting on this insignificant little speck in the universe (we don't even fully understand the little speck we're siting on, or how we or the speck came to be) should be so bold as to declare, with all finality and conviction, that there is no such thing as "God" and that we, with our pitiful understanding of the universe, have figured out all of the answers."

Originally the belief in gods or a god grew out of the need for answers to the questions of our world. Where did we come from? Why is their lightning? What happens when we die? Why are their stars in the sky?

When people did not have an answer, they created one. As time has gone by and science progressed, we found the answers to these questions. Slowly the gods were debunked, and it is still happening today. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for religions to keep up with science. I hope someday science will have all the answers.

I for one am comfortable not having all the answers. There are some things I will never know. That is fine with me but just because I dont have the answer then it does not default to god. Religion loves to say "well if you cant prove it then it must have been god". Boloney.

"Most people I meet here are very religious (I'd be surprised by that but most places with less than stellar public schools and high murder rates are usually religious)."

Religions always do well in societies that are in despair. People are depressed with their situation and religion gives them something to feel good about and something better to look forward too.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

JahRustyFerrari
October 12, 2012 02:58AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 238

To gringojj:
"As time has gone by and science progressed, we found the answers to these questions. Slowly the gods were debunked, and it is still happening today. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for religions to keep up with science. I hope someday science will have all the answers."

There are always going to be a lot more questions than answers. I love trying to find answers, and sometimes the answers come from a totally unexpected direction.

To Jamison who said:
"I'm surprised at this thread. Most people I meet here are very religious (I'd be surprised by that but most places with less than stellar public schools and high murder rates are usually religious)."

You just couldn't resist the temptation to take a poke at us for our "high murder rate" could you... I graduated from St. Croix Central High, and I don't consider my education to be "less than stellar". As a matter of fact, I was able to successfully compete against students from all sorts of fancy schools.

Feel free to critique my public school writing skills, if you feel so inclined.

High murder rates are the result of living in a decadent capitalist society that values the pursuit of money above everything else. We humans were never meant to spend our lives in the pursuit of possessions. We were meant to live off the bounty of the earth, sharing with each other and respecting all human life. Maybe this was the way things were before the Biblical Adam and Eve and the snake story, which is allegorical. I think Adam and Eve represent the human race in a state of purity, and the snake represents the beginning of the descent into what we are now...we were made too smart for our own good, and the collective instinct to love and protect each other has been corrupted. Do not take the Bible too literally. It is full of allegories, but there is good advice there also. Imagine a generation of young Virgin Islands males living according to Proverbs. We must not throw out the baby with the bath water.

High murder rates are a fact of our current existence, and public schools have nothing to do with it...the kids in public school do not run wars for profit, nor do they operate gun factories. They do not produce the violent movies, video games, music, and other "entertainment" that is forced on their impressionable young minds for profit. They are not taught to love each other. It has nothing to do with religion or schooling. The guy who recently killed a dozen people in a theater was a PhD student.

Most people here are perfectly content to sit on their couches and enjoy stories about dozens of innocent people who were not even born on September 11th 2001 being blown to bits by robot aircraft...obviously, those are not humans so they can't be murdered. The same people are appalled when someone gets killed in their own neighborhood. We are a nation of murderers and sanctioners of murder. Get used to it.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2012 03:22AM by JahRustyFerrari.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

usvichic
October 12, 2012 08:17AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 74

Quote
SunnyCaribe

You are right that there is a great deal of history hanging on the phrase "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, but that history dates only to 1954 when McCarthyist paranoia and a lengthy campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a roman catholic men's organization, goaded congress into passing unconstitutional legislation to modify it. The pledge, as it now appears, has been ruled unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Wow! Learn something new everyday! Thanks. smiling

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

Jamison
October 12, 2012 08:47AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,037

Quote
JahRustyFerrari


To Jamison who said:
"I'm surprised at this thread. Most people I meet here are very religious (I'd be surprised by that but most places with less than stellar public schools and high murder rates are usually religious)."

You just couldn't resist the temptation to take a poke at us for our "high murder rate" could you... I graduated from St. Croix Central High, and I don't consider my education to be "less than stellar". As a matter of fact, I was able to successfully compete against students from all sorts of fancy schools.

First, I didn't mean to offend you about the public schools here, but I constantly here that they are a problem and not up to the standards of the states. I don't know first hand, that's true, so I guess I shouldn't have an opinion just based on the statistics and general public opinion of pretty much everybody I hear talk about them. I got a sub par education at one of the better schools in the area I grew up in and my father gave better than average education at a below level school. Good for you.

About the murder rate. First, why'd you phrase that as "YOU couldn't wait to take a poke at us"? Do you think I have a history of that? Is there something I've said before to piss you off? Also, what are the statistics of murder per capita on STX? Are they kind of high? Yes? No kidding.

I love it here and I am respectful and just like anywhere, it isn't perfect. Everywhere has its problems. Don't be so sensitive.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

JahRustyFerrari
October 12, 2012 09:55AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 238

I apologize...sorry about that big grin

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others

Jamison
October 12, 2012 09:12PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,037

Quote
JahRustyFerrari
I apologize...sorry about that big grin

Cheers man. No worries. I understand why you feel a need to defend.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others
avatar

rotorhead
October 13, 2012 01:44PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,440

Anyone have an extra $3M lying around? One of Einstein's famous letters is up for sale.

[www.ebay.com]?

"The word of God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible is a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish." - Albert Einstein 1954

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others
avatar

rotorhead
October 13, 2012 06:57PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,440

One of the things that I have a hard time with is how Christians in the US want to PUSH their religion on to everyone.

The took advantage of the cold war in the 1950's and changed our country's motto from "E Pluribus Unum" to "In God We Trust". They stuck it on our money. They added "under God" to our pledge of allegiance.

Have you ever noticed how they want all of us to stop what we are doing at government meetings, sporting events, etc to pay homage to their god. How arrogant is that? They justify it by telling us that this is the way our founding fathers wanted it. But the whole "Christian Nation" thing is being debunked as a rewrite of history.

Explain this, our first Treaty with a foreign country after the US was founded. Negotiated by George Washington and signed by John Adams. It was passed unanimously by the US Senate. The Treaty of Tripoli:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

I also noticed this interesting article about 5 of our founding fathers.
[www.alternet.org]

One of the major culprits in the attempt to rewrite our history is David Barton, creator of "Wall Builders". He recently made the news when his history of Thomas Jefferson "The Jefferson Lies" was found to be lacking in facts. So much so that his publisher pulled the book from the shelves.
[www.npr.org]

Religion is worse than politics when it comes to lying.

Re: Respecting the beliefs of others
avatar

rotorhead
October 13, 2012 07:20PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,440

Quote
OldTart
The basic tenets of the ten commandments always seemed pretty sane and logical to me but every religion/belief I've been exposed to is based on those basic premises.

Sam Harris says it better than I can so here is a link to his critique of the ten commandments.
[critiquesofchristianity.blogspot.com]

A lighter look at one of the commandments.




A bad set of rules from an imaginary god!

Join the discussion. Click the button below to Login or Register now!

Click here to login

  • Blue Ocean Transport

Moving to the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Settlers Handbook
Only $17.95

The Settlers Handbook for the U.S. Virgin Islands is your guide to moving to St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island.

The current 18th Edition, released in January 2016, will help you explore your dream of island living. A solid reference book, it was first published in 1975. That's 40 years of helping people move to the islands. A must read. Order today.

Order Today

Advertise

Join VIMovingCenter.com Today!

Tell prospective and current residents about your business.

Learn More →

Sister Sites

VITraders

USVI Books & Souvenirs

VInow

USVI Vacation Guide

Living in de V.I.

USVI Relocation DVD

Proud Supporter

VI Olympic Team

For over 45 years, the Virgin Islands has celebrated the Olympic tradition by sending our athletes to compete.

Learn More →