I’m not surprised that some have reacted negatively here to what they see as ridicule of a particular religion, or of religion in general. I point out that the real objective of this party is to celebrate our own freedom from fear and superstition. Since it is impossible to celebrate freedom from fear and superstition without labeling something “fear and superstition,” that might come across to some as ridicule.
That being said, I would amplify Susan G’s quite cogent remarks made earlier in these posts: those who ascribe to the philosophy of Secular Humanism have at least a right, and probably an obligation, to mock religious beliefs of this type. This party is being organized in reaction to a particular group who loudly proclaim that on May 21st true believers will be Raptured into heaven, an earthquake will shake the whole world, and the dead will rise from their opened graves. Such ideas deserve mockery at several levels:
* Most self-identified Christians reject ideas of a literal and physical rapture, bodily resurrection, and Second Coming. This is not to say it is OK to mock an idea just because it is held by a minority, but to say that even most Christians think this is nonsense. How much more ridiculous must this seem to outsiders?
* It is ridiculous to believe that one modern-day person, without any special training in ancient cultures or languages can rummage through the Bible, connect disparate passages as he sees fit, choose an obscure and unsupported dating scheme, throw in a dash of numerology, and on that basis come up with the one true date for the beginning of the End. Yet this is exactly what Harold Camping and his supporters claim.
* It is ridiculous to believe that this particular date proclaimed for the End is any different from the vast array of failed predictions that precede it. History is littered with Great Disappointments, and to believe that this prediction is any different from hundreds of other abject failures is gullibility beyond measure.
This is not about anybody’s privately held religious beliefs. This is about a small but well-funded group who have vigorously sought publicity for their monster-under-the-bed stories, both nation-wide and right here in New Orleans.
Agnostics, atheists, and Secular Humanists have wide and varied opinions on such matters. But a key point of Secular Humanism, at least for those who ascribe to that philosophy, is that if we want to have better society now and in the future, then we must leave the supernatural and superstitious behind so we can apply human logic and human reason to solving our shared problems. That principle is in direct conflict with the kind of deference to religion a few on this blog think we ought to show. It is perfectly fair that religious believers had the right to proclaim their ideas to the public. But it is neither fair nor reasonable for the religious to demand that nobody point out their irrationalities, once they’ve made a public issue of their beliefs.