Friday, October 23, 2009
Those Aussies are really eating it up. I've seen Christopher Hitchens make a version of this argument several times, but never have I seen it elicit quite so many laughs! And I can't help but laugh along with them.
Which brings me to an interesting point that recently flared up on a friend's discussion board. Is it okay to laugh at religious beliefs? Generally, I think laughter and derision are perfectly appropriate responses, especially for some of the more outlandish claims, but even I wonder sometimes: Where do you draw the line? When is a belief fodder for comedians and when is a belief too sacred to touch?
Of course, I don't think a belief is ever too sacred to be touched, but for the sake of cultural sensitivities, what are the guidelines? In the quest for truth, is it better to throw political correctness and social niceties out the window? Or must we be more strategic if we are to win the hearts and minds of others? I think science offers a good role model here. Strive for skepticism and impartiality and if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
There's another good rule of thumb: if you want to laugh, just laugh and let the rest sort itself out.