Home / Polls / This week's poll: Is criticizing the Bible a form of bullying Christians?
This week's poll:  Is criticizing the Bible a form of bullying Christians?

This week's poll: Is criticizing the Bible a form of bullying Christians?

bullyWhen Dan Savage made critical remarks of the Bible in the context of gay bullying at a high school journalism conference, a group of Christian students walked out.   This outraged some members of the religious right, who called Savage a bully.   Savage used some swear words, but he was making a larger point about the hypocrisy of picking and choosing which parts of the Bible are relevant.   Regarding those who walked out, Savage remarked, "It's funny as someone on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansy-assed people react when you push back." Savage later apologized for that remark, but not for his criticisms about the Bible.

According to Fox News, Savage's remarks made girls cry and Christian students feel bullied.   Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, quipped, "Let me lay down a public challenge to Dan Savage right here and now: You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I'm here, you name the time and the place and let's see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back. It's easy to make high-school girls cry by picking on them. Let's pick on someone our own size!" — a debate offer which, Raw Story reports, has been accepted by Savage.

Is criticizing the Bible a form of bullying Christians?

Our poll will remain open until 7 AM Pacific time, Sunday, May 13, 2012.   Although our polling software tracks IPs to void double voting, your identity will remain anonymous.   This is not a scientific poll.

Comments are welcome — and thanks for sharing your opinion!

Is criticizing the Bible a form of bullying Christians?

  • No. (71%, 58 Votes)
  • It depends on the circumstances or how the criticism is presented. (21%, 17 Votes)
  • Yes. (9%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 82

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  • Tria MacLeod

    How can criticizing a book be bullying?   If you can't separate your identity from what you read what does that make you?   What does that make all those people who burn books?  Murderers?    Catcher in the Rye,  Harry Potter Series, Slaughterhouse 5.  Where is the line drawn and who said 'they' get the right to decide?

    It is amazing how the privileged majority acts completely butt hurt when someone takes a little poke at their reading material, it isn't as if someone advised them to beat their children for being different, or condoned spousal abuse if the wife isn't obedient or anything like that.

  • sweetlunacy

    I agree with Tria however, my vote was "it depends on the circumstances…".  If someone were standing there and yelling at me for how stupid the book that I get my faith from I would feel bullied based on tone, verbiage, delivery and such. I can hear someone saying "you believe in this shit? Do you really think this happened or that happened? etc.

    Yes it is possible.

  • can sure lead to some healthy discussions

  • No, I don't think it is the same thing.  There is a difference between criticizing a belief or a book and criticizing a person or forcing them to adhere to something.  I don't think criticizing a book or a belief is the same a criticizing a person.  I also don't think such criticism is an attempt to make anyone believe anything either.  Xians extremists do more bullying of others into believing what they believe by making idle threats of hell and alike, which is different from saying the crucifixion is barbaric.

  • Sheldon

    I don't believe it is bullying however, I can see the other side as well. Rarely is a believer encouraged to think about faith. They are taught that you can't analyze faith, you can only feel it… you can't think faith, you can only experience it. They use expressions like, "let go and let God".

    Witness how people defend their favourite actor from criticism as if it were necessary… as if they had intimate knowledge of that actor. When you become emotionally attached, you lose perspective.

    • I don't think emotional attachment has a thing to do with it, because if that were true, then what's the point of a mother (human or other wise) getting attached to her offspring.  Emotional attachment is important to survival, but religion, like it does everything else, hijacks it twists it into something it wasn't meant to be.  Emotional attachment is natural and it does not mean on loses all perspective.  Without it, many a mammalian offspring would die.

      The idea that one is attached to an actor emotionally, I don't think is quite the same, because very few say they have a "relationship" with that actor or consider that actor their "father" or "lover".  No, the type of attachment the religious have to their invisible friend is more on the level of parent to offspring, which again, religion hijacks and in many cases, people seem to believe they do need that "relationship" in order to survive.  This sort of thing is a hijacking of a basic human need and probably worse than the Reese's Monkey experiments.

      • Sheldon

         We are discussing different ideas. I never suggested emotional attachment was un-natural, or that with it, comes a total loss of perspective. I merely suggested that, for example, those who invest their emotions in things like who their favourite actor slept with, or divorced, are perhaps, suffering a loss of perspective. My view of religion is similar.

        I thought I was being concise… my mistake.

        I do not think that emotional attachments are limited to the survival of mammalian offspring. In fact, people become emotionally attached to all manner of things. Feelings, as you may know, are the manifestations of emotions. It is my opinion that emotional attachment has every thing to do with Christianity since followers are constantly urged not to think but rather to feel. Analysis is frowned upon in favour of re-living one's journey of/to faith, which is usually highly emotional, and is much desired. Christianity, at it's core, relies so heavily on emotional attachment that it could not survive without it.

        When, in Sunday school, you ask a child a question and the response is, "because Jesus loves me", and you respond back with, "that's absolutely right", replete with smiles from everyone close by, that is emotionally powerful. The fact that the "teacher" and everyone else there believes it too, reinforces the feelings of accomplishment for the child.  

        Religion is alive precisely because so many people are emotionally attached to their faith. This makes sense if you accept that religion is designed to ellicit an emotional response. This makes even more sense if you accept that Christians are unaware of that emotional response as anything other than a spiritual experience given to them by God. Without evidence and beyond reason, they believe it to be so. These are people who are connected to their beliefs through intense emotions.

        There are Christians out there… not the politician or clergyman in love with the sound of his own voice… who want nothing more than to distance themselves from their fundamentalist brethren. I know more than a few of them. They're the ones I'm talking about. Most of them define themselves by their faith. When your faith is so entwined with your emotional self, I think it would be easy to feel bullied when someone speaks against the very thing that you identify your self with.

        • Of course, that's why I say religion hijacks emotional attachment and alike.  They have lost their perspective.  There are healthy attachments and unhealthy attachments.  I think religion is an unhealthy one, because it hijacks many areas of our development and alike, turning it into unhealthy ones.  (I didn't say that well, but you get the jest.)  While it isn't true of every sect, many religious people are less mature in some areas of life than others. The more radical the religious sect, the less mature the adults of that sect are in various developmental areas, esp if they were raised from a very young age in that sect.  Development can be stunted or even regressive for some too, depending on the age they were indoctrinated into the sect.  They younger they are indoctrinated, the worse these things can be.

          • A healthy attachment is NOT saying it's perfectly biblical to be a homosexual. Jesus would say, that's sinful and repent and believe. Dan Savage doesn't do that unfortunately.

            Again, what is fundamentalism?

            • Depends.  You are obviously not Episcopalian or alike group.  Some sects say the N.T., specifically Jesus, says nothing about homosexuality, it is not a sin, and even a few ministers have theorized that Paul was gay.  Some Xian sects, like the Episcopal Church are ordaining, openly gay, as well as married, priests and performing the marriage ceremonies.

              Fundamentalism is Xian extremism, as well as literalist, who believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, written and inspired by their invisible friend.  Unfortunately, the Bible was written and inspired by men, with no deity's influence.  That's not the humanist speaking in me, but also my own past within religion.

              I find it strange someone does not know what Evangelical Fundamentalism is, but then again, I notice there is a lack of understand of what is healthy attachment, by psychological standards, not Bile standards, too.

          • Sheldon

            Yes, and don't forget that there are religions in certain cultures that frown on education, especially for females. This must be far easier than planting the mind-virus and then nurturing it's emotional growth. If you keep her uneducated, your work is already done. After all, how hard would it be to convince someone of a lie, when she is ignorant of everything other than the harshness of life, and every woman she knows believes the same lie?

            PS: Apologies for the late response Mriana. Work starts getting busy this time of year. By middle of June, I'll be lucky to log-on once a week.

            • If all they know is what their father, brother, or husband tells them about the Bile or the Curr-Ran, then that's all they will know and will die not knowing any better, unless they receive an education.  It's the easy way to brainwash those you want to enslave and control.

        •  Fundamentalism means you BELIEVE what the bible says. The bible says that Dan Savage is unbiblical and needs to repent of his sins. Either you believe the bible and are a fundamentalist, or you are a non-believers in reality. If you're a non-believer, that's fine, but don't make a statement about what a fundamentalist means.

          • Xianity is not exclusive to Fundamngelicals.  Mainline churches, most of which believe gays should have the right to marry, because JC never said a word about homosexuality, but they are Xians.  The mainline Xians are not extremists like the Fundamngelicals, but they are believers.

          • Sheldon

            A fundamentalist is one who literally believes that the bible is the inerrant word and must be followed to the letter. I know many Christians who would not agree with your view of Dan Savage nor your interpretation of the bible. If it is your contention that they are not Christian, then that is your burden, not theirs and not mine.

            I could have said extreme right wing religious nut-bag but I chose to be civil.

  • If I make a claim that something is true and you present credible, verifiable scientific evidence that it is not, are you bullying me? If someone is holding up the bible as being absolutely true and infallible, and I point out the contradictions and inaccuracies, am I bullying them? No. If they are using their invalid book of fairy tales to prevent me from living according to my beliefs and ethics, THEY are the ones doing the bullying. And need to be treated with all the contempt and derision that they so richly deserve.

    • Couldn't have said it better myself  🙂

    •  That's not what he did though Oh Militant one. What he did was equiv. to Fred Phelps in Kansas of which I know of NO Christian who supports that Democrat!

  • My question is:

    Will Dan Savage do the same for the Koran?

  • I think it was Hitchens who said; "criticising the
    bible is a victimless crime" … or was it Dawkins..?  Well who-ever
    it was, the point is 'true'.

    Also, another source of more beautiful logic is Sam Harris, he said you can
    project any metaphysics you want on-to anything you want, and no matter how
    much you want to invest in it doesn’t change the fact that it’s all nonsense.
    This is 'true' with any supposed 'holly book', these beliefs are ridiculous and
    do not deserve our respect.

    You have got to love these guys! ..They have such an elegant turn of phrase.

    ps. Much respect to the late Christopher Hitchens, ..You are, and will always
    be missed.

  • Rwdmdno2

    If one criticizes a man for having sex with another man, or a woman for having sex with another woman, then all the media would be up in arms. If they can't stand the heat, then they should not take their hatred out on others.

  • Vivisectus

    I would be OK with not criticizing the Bible if religious people used it only as a source of inspiration. As it is, they tend to use it as a source of justification as well. Because of this, the Bible becomes fair game, as we must now find out if we feel that the Bible is reliable for that use.

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