Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's NOT About Religion!

Seems like every time someone hears something they don't like, these days, they go into a snit and whine about religious discrimination. It ain't always the case. Matter of fact, it's very rarely anywhere near the case. But that doesn't stop the whining.

Two recent instances...

A teenage soccer player was prevented from playing by game officials unless she removed her headscarf. The officials cited safety as a reason; the girl and her teammates think it was religious discrimination; and the girl's mother confused the issue when she said, in part, "...It's just a piece of cloth that's on her head, and the way she was wearing it, it was tucked in her shirt ..."

Just a piece of cloth? In that case, there should be no reason to kick up such a fuss. Why not take it off, play the game, and put it on again later? No big deal, right? Just a piece of cloth?

But "the way she was wearing it..." Ah, yes. Go take a look at the picture on the link, and look at the way she's wearing it. And next time you're out and about, take a look at the next woman you see wearing this headscarf, and look at how it's being worn.

In order to keep it in place, it's wrapped and tied around her throat.

Scenario: Scarf-wearing girl on the field with the others, playing, and as sometimes happens during a scrum, she ends up on the bottom of a dogpile. In all those flailing arms and legs, one stray limb accidentally gets tangled in the scarf. The owner of said limb tries to free herself by pulling on her limb. The scarf tightens, and starts to strangle its wearer. More pulling, scarf gets tighter. If she tries to yell for help, will anyone hear her one choked-off voice among all the others going at full throttle?

Alternate scenario: She's got the ball and she's heading hell-for-leather up the field toward the goal, and an opposing player -- trying mightily to catch her from behind -- reaches out and grabs a handful of scarf. If this scenario goes really badly, she could end up dead from a broken neck.

This is not a religious issue. It's a safety issue. But the religious hysterics want you to think otherwise.

And then there's James Cameron and his documentary (?) on the discovery of a tomb that might contain the bones of Jesus and his family, which might include wife-and-kiddies.

A Catholic spokesman says: "Every Christian knows that Jesus, the son of God and man, died and rose again on Easter Sunday."

Well, no, that isn't strictly true. There are a lot of Christians who think that Jesus...his very existence...was less real than allegorical. That he never actually existed as one person, but as an archetype, much like the Greek and Roman and Egyptian gods, from which Christianity takes so much else of its structure. That his teachings are simply stories made up to illustrate the point of how the leaders of society wanted their followers to behave.

And another Catholic spokesman (and by the way -- where are the spokesmen for the Baptists and the Methodists and the Presbyterians and the...rest of the Christian world? Or are the Catholics the only ones allowed to talk? Or maybe they're the only ones who think they have something to lose?) had to jump in with, "There are some people interested in destroying the faith of others and that's not good."

Well, if it were true, it wouldn't be good. But that's not what's going on here.

Archeology, like all discovery sciences, is simply a method of determining history. With what they find in a dig, archeologists are able to put puzzle pieces in place, hoping to explain the past and link it to the present. Everything they find is a piece of the puzzle. Every piece of information takes us a little closer to a conclusion in the quest for the answer to the ultimate question: Who are we?

Religion, on the other hand, starts with a conclusion. Puzzle pieces that can be made to fit that conclusion are kept and held high, paraded around for the world to see in a never-ending PR campaign to win converts for both their bodies and their money. Those pieces that lead in another direction are squashed, demonized, ridiculed, or legislated out of existence as "heresy." And lately, the best weapon against knowledge that threatens the promulgation of religion is the cry of religious discrimination.

Remember my point about Jesus' being an archetype? If Cameron has actually found something that might prove that Jesus was actually a real person at one time, with historical, rather than hysterical, roots, you'd think Christian leaders would be bouncing off the walls in excitement, instead of whining about how anti-Christian he is. Don't they want their "lord and savior" to be proven to have been a real historical person? Now who's being anti-Christian?

But we don't yet know what the dig is going to show. In the middle of all this uproar from the religious crowd, they're glossing over a very important point: we don't yet know what the scientific conclusions are going to be! This is one piece in a puzzle. There will be more to come.

This is not a religious issue. It's a knowledge issue. But the religious hysterics want you to think otherwise.

9 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

As with most things now called a "safety issue" it really is not about safety. It is about "liability"! You can be sure that if anything remotely close to your descriptions would have happened should this ref had not made his decision. He would be finding himself in a court being sued for negligence for allowing her to play with it on.

Re part two... Being an Agnostic... this is cool! Prove it to me one way or the other.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:34:00 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Re: headscarf. Well said!

Having faith without emotional attachment to a religion comes in handy with these sorts of things. Personally, I doubt they will be able to prove one way or another whose tomb they found, but it won't bother me, either.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Dez said...

Religions of all types are feeling threatened, and are thus on the defensive. As we learn more about the nature of the universe through science, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify faith in something obviously contradictory to known facts.

I am an athiest. I am aware that being an avowed athiest would have resulted in my being murdered, by fire or stoning or some means equaly heinous, just a few hundred years ago. Even a few decades ago, stating with conviction a disbelief in a higher power was odd at the very least. Now, it is a movement gaining momentum. I like to think that, eventually, it will become the norm.

The various faiths of the world will not go down without a fight, however. Nor would I expect them to go quietly, since most of them have effectly used violence in the past to assert their dominance. How many wars have been fought for religious reasons, rather than merely for property rights?

Whining is easily endured, by comparison.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:34:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Tim, you make an excellent point about its being a liability issue. I had not at first considered it...but I think it comes after its being a safety issue. I'm more interested in keeping some girl from getting hurt than I am about a sports team's solvency.

On the tomb...I really don't care one way or another. I have no vested interests, here. I'm exceedingly interested in the results, whatever they may be. But I do want the results to be untainted by special interest (read: religious) groups!

To address one of Dez's points, I think one of the reasons some religious groups are feeling threatened is that they don't allow room for change in their structure. The ones who claimed from the start to have had all the answers are now coming up against the realization that they didn't have the right questions in the first place, and evidence is leading the people elsewhere. But they've gotten themselves painted into a corner; and the only way they can see to get out of the room with their dogma intact is to attack the paint for being heresy...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger JeanC said...

I'm looking forward to the program just to see what was found. I'm a sucker for all things archaeological.

Whether the filmmakers conclude, causing a shake up and getting people to talk and ask questions and THINK is always a good thing. Maybe it might shake loose a the few brain cells some of the uber fundies have left and casue them to start thinking, instead of continually spouting their particular party line.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger JeanC said...

That should read "Whatever the filmmakers conclude..." Sigh, Blogger needs to come up with a way to edit after posting comments for those of us who have problems putting words, much less letters together :P

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 4:05:00 PM  
Blogger DazzlinDino said...

Can I wear my ceremonial brass-knuckles-of-enlightenment when I play ball this summer?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 5:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Ian Scott said...

"Scenario: Scarf-wearing girl on the field with the others, playing, and as sometimes happens during a scrum, she ends up on the bottom of a dogpile. In all those flailing arms and legs, one stray limb accidentally gets tangled in the scarf. The owner of said limb tries to free herself by pulling on her limb. The scarf tightens, and starts to strangle its wearer. More pulling, scarf gets tighter. If she tries to yell for help, will anyone hear her one choked-off voice among all the others going at full throttle?

Alternate scenario: She's got the ball and she's heading hell-for-leather up the field toward the goal, and an opposing player -- trying mightily to catch her from behind -- reaches out and grabs a handful of scarf. If this scenario goes really badly, she could end up dead from a broken neck."

Well, have her sign a disclaimer that she recognizes the possible dangers to herself and that she and her family cannot hold the league, organizers, or other players responsible for her decision to wear the scarf.

If there is no risk to anyone else, then... who cares?

Thursday, March 01, 2007 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Ian, seriously...you've got your wee man...would you seriously expect another parent to say "who cares" if it were his safety at issue? Not about religion, remember.

And realistically, the signing of a waiver does nothing but alert people to have a waver-killing lawyer standing by in the wings. If it were as simple as a waiver, bike riders, hockey players, skateboarders,and other physical sports enthusiasts wouldn't wear helmets or padding of any kind.

Dazz: Full contact baseball? You sellin' tickets? LOL!

Thursday, March 01, 2007 11:23:00 AM  

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