General Question

willbrawn's avatar

Why has religion-intolerance become so wide spread?

Asked by willbrawn (6609points) June 16th, 2008 from iPhone

ive noticed it on fluther as well as a lot of the media. People who are religious and who stick up for the core values of such are becoming targets. The people are forcing certain religions to change. For example 20 years ago homosexuality would not be in many churchs. Today pastors are asked to step down if they dont stop preaching it as a sin. My question to non-religious people: why is there this intolerance and dislike against religious people. For religious people why do you think people act like this? Prophecy of the last days?

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32 Answers

jlm11f's avatar

just to be clear: you think that pastors should be able to preach homosexuality as a sin?

wildflower's avatar

After centuries of oppression, persecution and being forced to conform to a god fearing society, we (most of the folks on Fluther) are now fortunate enough to live in societies with religious freedom and freedom of speech.

If you cover someone’s mouth for a long time, when you finally uncover it, you shouldn’t be surprised that the person has a thing or two they want to get off their chest.

wildflower's avatar

Obviously everyone has their own reasons for believing what they believe, but for me, the ignorance and violence that tends to follow religion so closely is probably the main reason I dislike organised religion in general.

Thankfully I’m lucky to come from a place where I’m free to feel this way. Episodes like this actually make me proud of my association with Denmark.

ebenezer's avatar

I don’t think there is so much religious intolerance here. People have diverse opinions here as I have come to learn. Makes fluther worth attending. As far as the public in general, my frustration with “religion” is that there are always people who claim they are “walking the right path” around the next corner ready to tell you what you should believe. And based on what? The Bible, etc. If all of this wasn’t so opposed to “reason” or, at the very least, what I see unfolding in the world, I doubt I would be so razzed by it.

A lot of my friends are pretty serious into religion and the main reason we remain good friends is that we stick to other important “human” topics unless we are having a friendly “debate”.

ebenezer's avatar

Oh, and you posed this question as if it were obvious to everyone that religious intolerance were widespread. It seems it is more likely you were anoid by a few comments on fluther and maybe a friend and came to a quick conclusion.

Spargett's avatar

People are wising up.

jrpowell's avatar

You can be religious and not hate fags. Well maybe you can’t.

Here is a heads up. Most atheist/agnostic people don’t push our views on anyone. It is the magic dude in the sky crowd that wants to save us. We just tell you to STFU because we don’t want to hear about it. So stop playing the victim card.

Upward's avatar

Maybe it’s because in the back of your own head you know how absurd the stories taught by your religion are.
When I think of Intolerance I think of bible thumpers.

judochop's avatar

have you read the back of a U.S. Dollar? Sad sad sad I say.

delirium's avatar

Perhaps we’re having another enlightenment.

Harp's avatar

Ironically, willbraun, what you’re describing isn’t “religion-intolerance” so much as intolerance-intolerance. There are hopeful signs that mankind is (slowly) realizing that our future depends on finding ways to peacefully accommodate the vast spectrum of humanity. Certain forms of religion are among the last bastions of intolerance, so they draw the ire of those who are working to move beyond that.

You talk about the “core values” of religion, but didn’t Jesus explicitly say what those core values are at Mt. 22:37–40 “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” ?

marinelife's avatar

I think your premise is faulty (that intolerance for religion is more widespread) and your evidence is weak. But I don’t particularly want to debate religion with you. I want to comment on what you said about Fluther. Fluther is probably not the best place for trotting out religious beliefs unless they are specifically relevant to a question or answer. If you do, you have to be prepared that other people who do not believe as you do will also feel free to express those beliefs.

benseven's avatar

To chime in on the homosexuality topic, Pastors should have as much right to proclaim it as a sin (which it is cited as in the bible, the foundation of all Christian Faith), as an Imam has right to proclaim the eating of pork as wrong. That doesn’t mean the persecution of homosexuals or homosexuality in general is in any way acceptable, but there’s a difference between teaching what the bible states and encouraging people to be ignorant or intolerant. Any good Church would also teach that it’s not our place to judge, and to love someone irrespective of their sexual preference, even if that’s not agreeable to one’s faith.

In general, I think certainly where Christianity is concerned, there has been a lot of ‘bad evangelism’ over the years which has simply made people switch off to what the Church has to say, because they’ve been ranted at with fire and brimstone, or witnessed hypocrisy first hand. Where any religion is concerned the acts of a few can tar a far larger number with the same brush.

TheHaight's avatar

From reading all these responses, it makes me greatly appreciate my welcoming (and loving, accepting, unique, etc, church) and the community. Seems like religion was plain scary years and years ago, and that’s why people have branched off. I am lucky to not be apart of any type of bad evangelism and this “bible thumping” I hear about on here… Also, if I may add; benseven couldnt of said it any better…

Skyrail's avatar

Nicely said benseven. I have nothing further to say in the topic as I know that I don’t have the capacity to answer this question.

shawnlxc's avatar

To answer your main question in a stream of conscience thought I believe that intolerance for religion is actually misconcieved as intolerance for organized religion.

In my opinion I am offended at the social hierchys that are created inside any church. I dislike that a place of worship, that is suppose to be holy and breed the mentality to help others, focuses on making churches look attractive and misuses money for many things when it should go to the needy and for good will. I am offended that churches, there members, and there sub organizations get many tax breaks that aren’t allowed to other people and organizations that don’t have church beside there name. I feel that most attendees to churches are obnoxious and pretentious in their faith. I feel it’s cheap to use a god or gods to push personal propaganda and initiatives. I feel it’s cheap that the same things that heads of churches usually preach against and condemn others for are guilty of themselves.

People who hurt, segregate, and punish others for their difference in belief.

I think basically I need to say is that it’s like any wide spread opinion on something whether it be sports, money, or politics. There are those humans that believe something so whole heartily they inject hate and stupidity into it, not positivity and intelligence.

benseven's avatar

“I feel that most attendees to churches are obnoxious and pretentious in their faith.”

That is a horrible, horrible generalisation to make. I simply cannot count the number of people I know who are nothing like this.

Skyrail's avatar

Thanks shawntxc, it’s nice to see you’ve obviously seen every single Christian and church attendee and can make a quite perfect sweeping statement such as the one benseven quoted. Thanks…</sarcasm>

TheHaight's avatar

benseven and skyrail took the words right out of my mouth. Shawnlxc, that is a horrible and ugly generalization to make… Mustve had some bad experiences to say such a statement like that,?? I’m sorry if you have. Obnoxious and pretentious?

tvilot's avatar

It may be that you are mistaking intolerance of religion for intolerance of religious people.

Religion has been at the root cause, or contributed enormously, to the death and destruction in history. In the west, post 9/11, intolerance of fundamentalism has grown (and rightly so).

Ideas are not dangerous, but beliefs most certainly can be.

marinelife's avatar

@shawnlxc I think your premise is faulty (that most church attendees “are obnoxious and pretentious in their faith”) and your evidence is non-existent (as least as offered here).

judochop's avatar

I am guessing that you yourself are pretentious towards the church???!

marinelife's avatar

@judochop Who were you addressing?

shrubbery's avatar

Atheism denies the existence of any suprahuman being. All living creatures are the result of a chance coming together of gases, liquids and solids.

According to the atheist, all notions of God are fictional. He is a mere fantasy, living far beyond the scope of rational thinking.

But isn’t a firm belief in the non-existence of a God a religion in itself?

-Paul Arden

shawnlxc's avatar

@ anyone who commented to me:

Never said all religious humans, I know many people who blow my mind away with the true compassion they have for their faith and their god. There are no statistics, no numbers, this all comes from personal experience, just as a relationship with a belief should be unless provoked with question. People are very quick to assume you are attacking them personally without looking at the big picture of the situation or subject.

Evidence, look around intolerance towards other beliefs (being “obnoxious and pretentious”) is everywhere. Give me 30 seconds of your time and I’ll give you years of evidence to sift through.

I am not intolerant, I am hurt. Something so sacred is taken to far with wars, money, and lies (from the spokespeople), the individuals may be beautiful people, but the representation of many (look at that word, it’s not all) faiths are ugly most of the time.

In the end everyone will always have a difference of opinion on this, no matter where you stand.

Skyrail's avatar

Okay shawnlxc. I see where you are coming from but I’d rather you not throw out statements like “I feel that most attendees to churches are obnoxious and pretentious in their faith” which yes doesn’t cover everyone but where does the word ‘most’ stop? My dad is a somewhat religious leader, a minister, of a local church and yes, I feel hurt when comments such as the ones you pulled up are said, am I to be ignorant and turn a blind eye to it? Am I to sit here and watch you say such comments which inside feel hurtful? Yes we all have opinions and I respect yours but as you said “I am not intolerant, I am hurt” I also am now hurt.

benseven's avatar

Regardless of your hurt, experience or beliefs, to express that you believe ‘most attendees’ to churches across the globe are ‘obnoxious and pretentious’ shows a blinding level of ignorance, for which there is simply no justification.

shawnlxc's avatar


So how can you prove there is not?

“Most” is an undefined variable that cannot be defined, I understand, I’m not going to sit here and write out a novel explaining my life and how traveling across the country to the different faiths and sects, and what I have viewed as good, and as bad.

I will add that all that I say comes from personal experience from every thing I have seen, been around, read, and other forms.

We agree to disagree on this, simply put.

There is x on one side and there is y on the other. There will be those who have one view, and others who don’t

I feel telling me that I show a blinding level of ignorance is an hypocritical statement within itself. Where is your justification there is not? There is no study on this, it is all from experience, which shouldn’t be considered regardless.

The beginning question was not one that can be answered with facts, it can be answered only with personal opinion and experience.

breedmitch's avatar

I’m willing to say that alot of these pro-christian responses have been both obnoxious and pretentious.

I think alot of what’s viewed as “intolerance” is just a questioning of organized religion’s major themes. If your belief system is on such shaky legs that it can’t hold up to some honest doubt, then it wasn’t much to begin with. I think Mother Theresa had it right, or Jesus for that matter. Both were able to reconcile their doubt. I think many (Notice I did not say all, or most- so feel free to leave yourselves out of this category) of today’s staunch Christians can’t reconcile their own questioning of faith and so they just shut down.

I was recently at the planetarium in Washington DC and we were viewing an exhibit on the formation of the earth and a time line for the solar system. I suddenly realized that many of the Smithsonian’s visitors must be from Bible-believing backgrounds. Do they wholly discount all the science that is presented before them? Are they happy to say “Yeah, that’s the Spirit of St. Louis over there, but I don’t believe any of what’s presented over here.” If you never question your beliefs, does that make them stronger?

ebenezer's avatar

breedmitch- I would wake up every Sunday to go to a good planetarium presentation!

delirium's avatar

Ebenezer: There are actually Sunday planetarium meetings here.. except you’d have to wake up REALLY REALLY early… like… 1 AM and drive out there and spend the morning/night looking at stars and listening to astronomy talks. We used to do it when I was a little kid. It was always really cool. All the astronomers would bring their huge telescopes and a bunch of parents would bring their kids and they’d set it up on the planetarium lawn. I have fond memories of standing in the cold on my tiptoes looking through my dads telescope (that was bigger than I was) and falling in love with science and the universe.

JenniferP's avatar

Religious people often hate each other too. I have been mistreated by people of other beliefs for being in a minority religion.

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