Differences between Theist, Deist, Pantheist, Atheist:On to the section from Dawkins book about Undeserved Respect, here are the notes from the meeting.
- A theist believes in an intelligent god who cares about the created world.
- A deist believes in an intelligent god who created the world, but doesn't care about it.
- A pantheist (like Einstein) doesn't believe in a creative god, but rather believes in a set of rules that the universe follows. In this sense, god is the universe.
- An atheist doesn't believe in any sort of god (or doesn't care).
Does religion get undeserved respect?I really wish I could attend these meetings as I would then know the context of these notes a little better, as of right now I just have to guess the best I can by correlating it to the reading wherever possible. My overall response to the reading was that many of the examples were too extreme (i.e. not common enough) to be taken seriously or are taken to try and show a problem with religion when, in fact, they demonstrate a problem with something else, such as the laws in the US dealing with illegal drugs. I also found the example Dawkins gives that is addressed in point #7 above to be very weird. Dawkins seems to argue that basing something on Freedom of Religion is flawed while basing it on Freedom of Speech is not, yet they are both in the First Amendment.
1. It's not a question of respect, it's a question of power.
2. The government can't control religious groups
3. Thus it's pragmatic to not fight against religion
4. The example of the cartoons printed in Danish newspapers isn't about privileging religion, but rather it's about fear.
5. "...the restraint of British newspapers derived less from sensitivity to Muslim discontent than it did from a desire not to have their windows broken." (p. 48)
6. It was brought up that the examples that Dawkins uses aren't normal, and are even in some cases "weird," so the conclusions aren't logically valid. In order for the conclusion to hold, it has to hold in all cases, not just in some special cases.
7. Why is it bad to use Freedom of Religion as an argument, yet it's okay to rely on Freedom of Speech? The founding fathers didn't differentiate between the two; they are both part of the first amendment.
8. The term "Ethnic Cleansing" may not be used to give religion special respect, but might just be a form of political correctness.
9. In the Irish civil war, calling them "Catholics" and "Protestants" would force people worldwide to take sides in the conflict, and it would escalate the conflict.
10. Following in the political correctness vein, religion gets respect from the media. This encourages the public perception that religion is set apart, and should be treated with care.
11. Last point, people tend to hold their own beliefs (be they religious or otherwise) with a special reverence. This means that they would feel personally attacked when other people talk negatively about their beliefs.
Everyone is going to want, and generally deserves, at least a little respect for their personal beliefs. This does not mean their beliefs should be above reproach or worth of special protection, or that they would think such. Just that they will probably want anyone who criticizes them to do so with some kind of decency. Ultimately, I can see Dawkins point about religion receiving a lot of respect, but I think he has blown it way out of proportion.