Sunday, January 6, 2008

Individual Moral Transgressions of Individual Theists

Readers may note that, even though this blog and my other blog both concern 'atheism' and 'ethics', that I do not devote even a single post to a certain set of transgressions of religious individuals that seem to capture the attention of others.

These are the various crimes of religious people - embezzlement, child abuse, prostitution, and the like.

This is because the people who use these crimes are not making an argument worthy of writing about. They are trying to take the crimes of an individual and use it condemn a whole group of people.

Now, a crime that a person commits becaues the religion itself tells them to do it - that is a legitimate object of criticism. It is legitimate not because a religious person committed a crime, but because the religion itself condones it.

However, when a religious person commits a crime that his religion condemns, using that to condemn the whole religion is . . . well . . . an injustice.

It's like posting the crimes of a black person and doing so in a context where the readers are invited to use this as a reason to condemn all black people.

If the purpose is not to overgeneralize the criminal act to promote dislike of others, then why mention those criminal acts and not others? Why only mention the crimes of religious people unless the religous attitudes of the agent are relevant? And if they are relevant, when how are they relevant?

They are relevant in the sense of, "I hate these people and I want you to hate them too. You certainly hate the person who committed this crime. Well, he was religious. Now, join me in extending this hatred to all people who are religious."

It's not a valid form of reasoning.

It's also not morally legitimate.

Which is why you will not read a posting here in which I refer to the crimes of a person who happens to be religious as if it were possible to draw anything but bigoted conclusions from mentioning such a crime.

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