Monday, November 13, 2006

"I would ban religion completely."

"...there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion," he said. "From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate." -- Elton John, via

It's sad that this is his perception of religious people, but I don't doubt that he's encountered a lot of hateful religious people because he's such a public gay man.

There's a pervasive idea around now that we should tolerate everything and disapprove of nothing ("to each his own" and all), but should we tolerate sets of beliefs that are intolerant? This argument (against tolerating intolerant beliefs) is the strongest I've encountered against cultural relativism. I've heard it used against Islamic fundamentalists.

The view that I've settled on is that everyone can believe whatever they want to believe. You have the right to believe that the sky is green or that gay people are sent from the devil, but you don't have the right to treat people badly because of your beliefs.

I believe that hell resembles Alaska more than a fiery pit, but I don't hate on Eskimos.

It's not an airtight, rigorously logical position, but it's one I can live with.

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