Saturday, July 04, 2015

My Offensive Behavior Explained

"The right to freedom of thought and belief is one and the same right for all."
Absolutely! I cannot tell you what you should think or believe, and you cannot abridge my Right to think and believe as I do!
"No one anywhere should ever be forced into or out of a belief."
Yup! We can each reason and argue and apply thought and discernment to a belief, or a disbelief, without coercion/intimidation to accept someone else’s beliefs with which we disagree. 
"The right to freedom of expression is global in its scope."
True! But “My right to throw a punch ends at the nose of the other person.” is the standard.
The point where my freedom of expression impacts someone else’s is the point where we must either back off, agree, or agree to disagree.

"There is no right not to be offended, or not to hear contrary opinions."
This is the ‘non-right’ which moves civilizations forward. As long as there are people,
We will have offenders and offendees. We all assume both roles as part of our freedom of thought.
If I cannot express myself without offending you, if you are not free to offend me by your expression…
Then chaos. Darkness. 

"States must not restrict thought and expression merely to protect the government from criticism."
We see this broken machine displayed in many countries where those in power insulate themselves from the powerless. Eventually, every broken machine is replaced.
"Freedom of belief is absolute but the freedom to act on a belief is not."
Finally something I disagree with! If action is restricted, then the belief is restricted. If I am not allowed to act on my belief, it is abridged. Freedom to believe (or NOT believe) encompasses the freedom to act on that belief!

Statements in bold are from the 2014 World Humanist Congress, gathered in Oxford, UK, on 8-10 August 2014


Doug said...

Either nor ot, enjoy the day... if my saying that doesn't intrude on your right to have a bad day.

Lucia said...

The freedom to act on a belief is most certainly not absolute.

If I believe some paranoid folderol about vaccines, I still have to have my kids vaccinated if I want them to attend school. Otherwise I'm putting other people (as well as my kids) at risk. Or, if you like, my right not to vaccinate my kids ends where someone else's kid's immune system begins.

If you believe some nonsense about God's having created the whole world and all the creatures in it in seven 24-hour days, you don't get to have it taught in public-school science classes. Some of those kids will grow up to be scientists if they're taught real science. (You have every right to mentally add "Scientific investigation bears out" to any scientific idea with which you disagree.)

And, of course, if Dylann Roof believes African-Americans are ruining America, that doesn't entitle him to murder innocent people.

You're probably thinking of your right to worship whomever you like however you like. That you have. But you don't get to use it to wreak havoc on the rest of the world.

Doug said...

Hi Lucia-
"Freedom of belief is absolute but the freedom to act on a belief is not."
Don't know for certain how you could be more wrong, but there are paths I do not tread.
Okay, please don't freak out...but I'm going to use an imperfect metaphor to test whether we can agree on this. Checksum. Not the proper tool, but then again, neither am I.
To see whether the statement above is true, count it up by it's opposite number, and let's see what we get:

"Freedom of disbelief is absolute, but the freedom to act on that disbelief is not."
In other are not allowed to protest a religious belief. You can reject and ignore belief in your life all you long as you keep your mouth shut.
If you or the World Humanist Congress reserve a right to act on your disbelief while at the same time rejecting my right to act on my belief...then you are not treating both of our rights equally.
This isn't all just jabbering-if you, Lu, were to go to Syria to an ISIS stronghold and declare yourself a could cost you your life. Many Christians and other non-Islamists have been killed for rejecting the god of ISIS.
I've been listening to a series by Dr. John MacArthur about the return of Christ and the setting up of His Kingdom. Everything we know will be changed, and Man's dominion of the planet will be done.
Dr. MacArthur also covered the "Sheep and the Goats" we mentioned a bit ago. I agree with him.
Have a good night, Lu-my alarm clock will start yelling at me at 5:35 whether I want it to or not.

Lucia said...

I'm having a bit of trouble parsing this one, but I'll start with freedom of disbelief. You're entirely correct that religious freedom is constrained in many countries and in both directions: you're required, in some cases on pain of death, to practice and profess a certain faith, and not to practice or profess any other faith or no faith. I'm not sure what this has to do with the question at hand, since we're talking about what freedoms a person has in a free society, or possibly in an ideal one. So, in a free society, am I always free to act on disbelief? No. If I don't believe the law applies to me -- because God told me it didn't, or because I'm smarter than everyone else and therefore above the law, or because I've been the victim of an unjust law or an unjust application of it, or by any other rationale I might dream up -- I still have to obey it.

A person (in a free society) can act on a belief or disbelief only if that action is legal (legal right) and harms no one else (moral right). (I know what you're thinking. There are special cases and caveats, but I'll keep it simple for now.) Every action we take is based on belief and/or disbelief. For instance, if I drive my car to work, I'm acting on my belief that this is a morally valid way for me to get to work, and the concomitant disbelief that I'll cause anyone any significant harm by doing so. A rabid environmentalist might believe otherwise.

You seem to allude to the potential conflict between freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It's tricky terrain, but usually not that tricky. You have the right to practice your faith, and I have the right to state my opinion that your faith is mistaken. You have the equal and opposite right to state your opinion that my irreligion/disbelief is mistaken. Neither of us harms the other by stating an opinion. (Otherwise we'd both be in pretty poor shape by now.) I don't have the right to burn down your church, nor do you have the right to tie me down and play me John MacArthur sermons until I profess Christianity.

Doug said...

" I don't have the right to burn down your church, nor do you have the right to tie me down and play me John MacArthur sermons until I profess Christianity."
Of course I would never do that. In the same vein, if we do not believe in Allah, (I'm pretty sure that we share common ground there) no Muslim in this country has the 'right' to force us to believe or submit to his/her religion.
Here's a puzzler for Christians, Lu. We are called to be good citizens of whichever country we live in, even if the government we live under is barbaric, cruel or downright corrupt.
These commands were given during the time that Rome ruled the world, which was pretty corrupt/cruel/barbaric. No other government has been quite so 'bad'. But we are to be good citizens even of detestable governments. Because our true citizenship is in Heaven, and we are only passing through.
With that said, how could Boston trade Victorino? He still has years of good playing ahead of him. Puzzlers.