Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Believe what you want, but don't force it on me

Religious people have every right to believe and worship and live according to their faith, as long as their actions do not harm others. However, these people cannot force others to believe their myths or obey their religious tenets. It's as simple as that.

PZ Myers blogged about a story that illustrates the point effectively. The short version is that a journalist in Israel was attacked for reporting on a story about a parking lot that would remain open on the Shabbot. She was attacked because she herself wasn't observing the Shabbot, even though she wasn't Jewish.

PZ's opinion here is much like my own:

This is something too many religious people fail to understand — you can practice your religion, other people can practice their religion, but you don't get to tell other people that they must practice your religion. If your crazy superstition says you aren't allowed to push a button on a certain day of the week, then don't. If your old myths claim that your god turns into a cracker when the right ritual is carried out, go ahead and believe that. If your dogma dictates that you should visit a certain magic rock before you die, then go ahead, make your pilgrimage.

But excuse us, everyone who doesn't have these wacky ideas has a perfect right to push the button, disrespect your cracker, or stay home and skip the crowds…and we also have the right to point and laugh at you.