Monday, January 2, 2006

2 Teveth 5766/2 January 2006: Hanukkah, day 8

Greetings.

Today was supposed to be the day that I reported the winner of The Weird Thing of the Day Dune Fantastic Religion Contest. However, it turned out that all the entries were made by fictional characters. I therefore appointed a panel of fictional judges to determine a winner, and they chose the Bellman’s “The Mystery Religion of Agatha Christie”. This caused a great uproar among the contestants, as there was no such entry. Fictional detective Sherlock Holmes has been called in to investigate what went wrong. If I can get appropriate PR, I may try redoing the contest again at a future date.

And now for the final installment of my list of religious fallacies. People are especially encouraged to prove anything in the “Probable” section is not a fallacy.

Islam, including its relations with other religions:
“All Jewish claims about Palestine/Israel (including claims on the Temple Mount) are false and utterly baseless, while all Muslim/Arab claims are true.” (Arab/Muslim misconception)
“Allah is an idol.” (An American general in the wake of 9/11)
“Europe would still be in the Dark Ages if it was not for the beneficent influence of Islam.” (Euro-Arab misconception)
“Islam is a black/African religion.” (Popular American misconception)
“Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.” (Muslim misconception and popular American misconception, voiced by the news media and George W. Bush)
“Islam is older than Judaism and Christianity.” (Muslim misconception)
“Islamic terrorism is the result of injustice against Muslims at the hand of non-Muslims.”
“Jews and Christians corrupted their scriptures.” (Muslim misconception)
“Muhammad ascended to Heaven from Haram al-Sharif/the Temple Mount.” (Arab/Muslim misconception)
“Peace is only possible under the beneficent rule of Islam.” (Muslim misconception)
“The Satanic Verses are a Christian fabrication.” (Muslim misconception)
“There is a Palestinian people, language, and culture.” (Arab/Muslim misconception)
“There used to be a country of Palestine until the Jews took the land away from the Arabs.” (Arab/Muslim misconception)

Biotechnology:
“Cloning should be banned because someone might use it to create an evil clone army.”
“Dissecting animals is evil.”
“Experimenting on non-human animals is evil, even if it saves human lives.”
“Genetic engineering is intrinsically evil.”
“It is wrong to ‘play God’.”
“People have a right to an unedited genome.”
“Reproductive cloning is intrinsically evil.”
“Therapeutic cloning is intrinsically evil.”

Miscellaneous:
“Anything which can be used for evil should be banned, no matter how much good it can do.”
“Being modern is a value.” (Popular American misconception)
“Following a particular religious practice (e.g., becoming a priest, praying) will fix a real or perceived problem (e.g., illness, being homosexual).” AKA “Jesus is the answer.” AKA “Islam is the answer.” (Mary Baker Eddy, founder of (the deceivingly named) Christian Science, and her followers; men who become priests and monks to control unwanted sexual desires. Suggested by Barry with alternate forms suggested by Sheikh Yabouti)
“I know that Judaism/Christianity/Islam/etc. lacks spirituality, even though I don’t know much about it.” (Jews in the USA and Israel who get interested in Buddhism or Hinduism without bothering to learn anything about Judaism)
“It is good for children to believe in Santa Claus/the Easter Bunny/the Tooth Fairy/etc.” (Popular American misconception)
“It is OK to ignore deities and worship angels or saints.”
“Religion is for children only.” (Popular American misconception) • ESAOF: “Religion is for old people only.” (Popular American misconception)
“Technologically primitive people are more ecologically friendly than technologically advanced people.” (Popular American misconception)
“The clergy do not mind being overworked or being disturbed by their parishioners at odd hours.” (Attitude displayed by inconsiderate Jews and Greek Orthodox Christians)
“The Constitution of the United States must be treated as scripture.”
“The environment/the Earth is more important than humans are.” (The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement)
“The gods of other religions are Satan, demons, or other evil sprits.” (Christianity)
“The human body or anything else natural is perfect.” (Philosophers, creationists)
“Traditional/New Age medicines are better than scientific ones.” (New Age misconception)
“We have a God-given right to smoke, regardless of how much damage it does to our bodies or how much it hurts and annoys other people.” (Tobacco companies and inconsiderate smokers)

Probable:
“Atheism is provable or proven.” (Militant atheists)
“Long ago everyone on Earth belonged to a single matriarchal culture.”
“My religion has been conclusively proven to be true.” (Urban legends wandering the Internet)
“Pantheism (deification of the universe), deification of any mortal lifeform, and deification of any part of nature are plausible.” (Pantheism, Zoroastrianism)
“Reincarnation is plausible.” (Dharmic religions, Qabbalah)

Enjoy, and happy Hanukkah.

Aaron
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