I usually love having conversations with the religously-certain. I find it very interesting to hear people's logic of faith. I do question people about their logic but I don't do it to try and change their mind but to try and find the answers that I would want if I were to share their faith. I suspect I wouldn't get very far with Mr Phelps because his logic seems to consist of self-affirming tautologies.
On a related note about people's faith in religion. I find few people willing to discuss openly someone picking holes in what they believe in.
I myself am a firm supporter of the big bang theories.. for many reasons beyond the simple "because someone told me too". But I absolutely love to death to hear why it may or could not work.
I remember back in school when my physics teacher said, "The big bang theories not a perfect theory either, there's holes in it too". I was absolutely fascinated to find out what those holes were. I have since found out a myriad of them. But my belief in it being correct still holds? Why? Because it makes sense to me all the same, it fits into so much else about how the universe all works together. It may not hold together under 100% of all situations. But to me that just means our interpretation of it isn't quite right yet.
It also keeps my mind open to the idea that I could be wrong. I'm very concerned about people with 100% faith. It gets taught in many of the churchs as the way to be. But 100% faith in anything in my view often leads to narrow mindedness.
Open mindedness and belief in something, are not exclusively seperate goals. You can believe in something without blocking off all other avenues of thought without the world falling apart.
Phelps does what most people do (but not all) to a rather extreme degree. He needs things to be absolute to be comfortable. Needing things to be black or white and cannot cope with the grey haze inbetween. Like every person that needed Iraq to be evil as opposed to being just idealogically different.
He's gone and drawn up a list of self made rules going by his interpretation of christianity, and now is unforgiveningly condemning anyone that doesn't stick to things like glue. People that know where they stand with such firmness often feel safe and indestructable. So he's passing that feeling onto his followers like a drug who evidently seem to be lapping it up.
He's doing what some scientists do whenever they laugh at religious people as fools. Except religious folk are often painted as preachy, or at worst fanatics whenever they try show their beliefs. Scientists don't really get that bad rep since they're seen as more useful.
Example: Stephen Hawkings in a recent british interview was asked whether he believed if anything happened after you die. He replied saying that as a scientist he only believed in things he could explain, and that believing in such things is pretty foolish (that's not a quote.. but he did say foolish). Oddly the response of the interviewers was to laugh (richard and judy annoy me sometimes...)
Had a religious person said that believing in science was foolish I think people would have likely just called them an idiot.
It's fair enough to say phelps should be able to speak his opinions just like everyone else... But at what sake? Let's put this in perspective.. lets say some weird extremist science teachers popped up and started protesting outside of churchs. They caused no actual violent damage to anyone or anything. But haressed any that dared to enter with banners saying, "Religion is the source of all evil" and "Stop being a drain on our society". I think it'd be fair to say, regardless of whether physical damage had been done, damage to the community would certainly occur all the same. It's not really something you can measure, and I'd be first in line at the "stop god damn censorship" line. But there's a thin line really between, the right to offend, and the right to cause damage. I'd also hate to be the one deciding how you define precisely what is too much, and what is people being overly sensitive. But it's there none the less.
I don't think phelps should be stopped, arrested, or otherwise. But Come on, people having to take the back door to go to church, so they can avoid being haressed? Church obviously means a lot to them or they wouldn't risk going at all. We wouldn't dare defend someone's rights to mock a child for going to school. If a kid says nothing.. nothing happens. But if a kid makes the concious effort to make things stop, it stops.. (in theory). I think there should be someway to restrain him from cramming his views down people's throats. If people want
to listen. That's there choice, but he seems to be forcing people to do so by camping out where they no longer get choice as to whether he gets heard or not. Communitys are getting angry (I originally typed a swear word rather than angry before changing it
) at him as a result. Coming down on him hard is just hypocrtyical, but letting him act however he wants regardless of how it effects these small communities isn't exactly taking things into the greater good either.
Right.. all done..
In other news.. I like ginger ale.. it's official