10 thoughts on “1st May 2019

  1. Just caught the tail end of it. The Sikh guy with the boring voice saying something about religions having more things in common than not, so why can’t we all get along together?

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  2. It was Great-Uncle Indarjit Singh, telling us that outsiders’ views of other people’s religions can be a Good Thing because they notice when practitioners of those religions are living up to their principles (or not). Singh was anxious to make it clear that Sikhism is welcoming, tolerant and open-minded. Sadly he ran out of time before he could comment on the recent story that Sikh extremists have stopped an inter-faith buffet between Sikhs and Muslims taking place: https://barficulture.tv/people/518

    In any case, his thesis is two-edged. Outsiders may notice the good things that a religion does, if any; they are just as likely to want to spell out the many ways in which it is incompatible with what they believe.

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  3. Indarjit Singh.

    “As a self-appointed arbiter of what true Sikhism, true Hinduism and true Christianity is (I think that covers all the nice ones), I’m going to tell all those who identify as Sikhs, Hindus and Christians who fall short of my own impeccable and irreproachable standards that they aren’t True Sikhs, Hindus or Christians (i.e. all the nice people).

    To be a True Sikh, Hindu or Christian (i.e. all the nice people), you must interpret the respective texts my way, ignoring all the nasty and divisive bits. Only then can we all just Get Along and use our mutually blasphemous religions to solve problems in a world torn apart by our mutually blasphemous religions. All Sikhs, Hindus and Christians have to do is be True Sikhs, Hindus and Christians (i.e. all the nice people), then everything will be alright.

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  4. Thank you all. Did he, by any chance, manage to refer to any non-religious news?

    My apologies for refusing to get out of bed for this.

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  5. I’ve been following this blog for decades and you haven’t missed many. I could probably count them on the fingers of one hand.

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  6. I couldn’t see anything of importance to disagree with in this TFTD. Outside observers picking up the religious (*) on whether they are conforming to the basics of their religion? Yes please, bring it on.

    At heart, most people are generally nice. And because of this most people in religions are generally nice, at least at the level of their basic tenets. I happen to think this is a human characteristic, they would most likely say it is a god-given (****) characteristic, but that is hardly a huge point of division. What is a point of division is when religions fail to be nice. For example, there is no possible overlap between the Good Samaritan message and the church’s treatment of homosexuality. One says “Be nice to people who are different to you”, the other says “Be horrible to people who are different to you”. When homosexuality was seen as being a choice, this might have held a tiny morsel of sense. But with what is now known to be true, it does not hold even that. It is a basic contradiction at the most fundamental of levels, impossible to hold both views without being hopelessly hypocritical.

    The Sikh teachings of tolerance are great, as are the Christian teachings of tolerance, the Muslim teachings of tolerance, and the secular teachings of tolerance. These things need to be encouraged in whatever form they arise. It makes no difference whatsoever if someone is tolerant because they are Sikh, or because they learned it from Christianity, or because they are just tolerant. But when intolerance arises, it should be condemned in whatever form it takes. There is no excuse, not religious, not political, not secular, for intolerance. Agreement in other areas is not a reason to accept intolerance, which is exactly the problem that the Labour Party is bizarrely struggling with right now. I say bizarrely, because it really isn’t difficult. Anyone who writes a foreword to a book that includes many racist arguments is themselves knowingly racist, and the fact that in other areas people might agree with his politics is no excuse for ignoring this (**).

    I’ve said here many times that the arguments against religion fall into two distinct fields. There are the philosophical debates about the unreality of the Exodus or the creation, or the inconsistency of a moral and active god choosing not to act time and time again. These debates are huge fun, but ultimately they mean very little (**). But then there are the abuses of power, the oppression, the control systems and attempts to impose intolerance through the law. These things matter a lot, and are not fun. Religions () moving from the latter towards the former is overwhelmingly the best way to fix things. If Indarjit Singh wants people to remind his fellow Sikhs to be nice to others, I could not care less where he thinks this moral injunction comes from. It simply needs to be encouraged.

    () This applies to many other things as well as religion, like politics, sport, and any philosophical stance.
    () This is NOT a party political point, the others have racists in their ranks just as much, and are equally guilty of ignoring this for expediency’s sake.
    (
    ) If they mean a lot to you, have another look at what matters.
    (****) Microsoft Word wants to correct this to have a capital G. This is an outrage, my freedom is being denied, rise up etc.…

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    1. WordPress doesn’t like my footnotes, it seems. So you will have to match each one to the right part of the comment. Another fun game to play after conclusively demonstrating the absurdity of the Pope’s hat.

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    2. “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion” – Steven Weinberg, Nobel-winning physicist

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  7. Peter. You managed to miss the one which was about a cricketer’s view of a religion. Basically,it was an argument from authority, just another source to usual. ” Kapil Dev has praised my religion, therefore it must be ‘a good thing.'” And that really was it.

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