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Thought provoking questions that
we have received, with our responses

Part 14:

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This topic continues from the previous essay

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Interesting Emails discussed in this essay:

bullet A general attack

bullet Roman Catholics, abortion, and birth control usage

bullet Change the name of this web site

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A general attack

Incoming Email, with spelling and punctuation unchanged, alternating with our responses:

bullet "if you promote religious freedom then why to name other religions as bad."
bullet I don't think that we label any religion, or any belief that they teach, as bad. However, we do criticize actions by specific religious groups which harm others. We also compare the teachings of various religions with each other and with the findings of scientific research.
bullet "All religion is based on one thing Speculation and the fact that people ruin there lives trying to live by gods word is a joke."
bullet There are dozens of major religions in the world. Many have thousands of denominations, traditions, sects, etc. I think that a lot of people would agree with you, except for their own religion. Most people consider their own religion to be true and good, even as they regard other religions as being false. Among those who worship a deity, many believe that their God or Goddess or Gods or Goddesses are the only deity or deities in existence.
bullet "no one can prove there is a god."
bullet True. No one has yet proven the existence of a God. But then, nobody has disproved the existence of a God either.
bullet "And why is there so many different variations of religion."
bullet This is because over the last thousands of years, individuals all over the world have tried their best to create religions based on their concept of deity, of ethics, world origins, rituals, the status of people of different races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, etc. They did this largely independently of each other, and thus created many religions that teach very different beliefs. Of course, many people feel that humans did not create their God. Rather, they believe that their God created humans and revealed the one true religion to humanity. They feel that all of the other religions, and all of the other traditions within their own religion, are in error to some extent .
bullet "i thought they were all wanting the same thing but still using religion as an excuse to kill people."
bullet True. They all want people to live up to the expectations of their deity. They also, with few exceptions, teach the Ethic of Reciprocity (a.k.a. The Golden Rule). However, religions have generally done a bad job teaching their members that the Ethic refers to all humans, not just fellow members. They often teach that persons of a given race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. are sub-human and not worthy to receive full human rights. Once you have defined people as sub-human, it is easy to demonize them, discriminate against them, oppress them, and even exterminate them. This path leads to the gas ovens.
bullet "So to end with ill say that probably your whole site is an error"
bullet Since we explain all viewpoints, and because there are generally at least two viewpoints on each issue -- from abortion access to same-sex marriage; from the atonement to heaven and hell -- then any given visitor will see almost all of our essays as containing what they feel are errors. We expect that. It is unavoidable

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Roman Catholics, abortion and birth control:

Incoming Email, with spelling and punctuation unchanged, alternating with our responses:

bullet "Where in the F--K do you plan to tell me you found a group of CATHOLICS that support widespread access to abortion? Have you lost your f--king MIND trying to pawn off that bulls--t?"
bullet We normally do not reply to abusive letters. However, your letter contained so many factual errors that I feel moved to respond. There is a Roman Catholic group -- that is a group of individuals who were baptized Roman Catholics and have continued as devout members of the religion -- who are members of "Catholics for Free Choice." They publish a periodical which we have seen on the newsstands of large book stores. They, and other similar groups promote access to abortion. I suggest that you go to www.google.com and use the search string "catholics for free choice" You will get about 874 hits.
bullet "What do you do...just make s--t up and post it? Did you even ask ONE question before putting this dumb ass s--t out there for public consumption?"
bullet We are at a loss to understand this sentence. We are quite aware that the magisterium of the Catholic church is unalterably opposed to abortion. But we are also aware that there are devout Catholics who feel that the magesterium is wrong. These members of the laity promote abortion access and choice. Also, the incidence of abortion among Roman Catholics is considerably higher than among Protestants and is equal to that of the general population.

We are merely reporters. We do not pass moral judgments on people who promote abortion access or women who obtain abortions. We feel that our visitors need to know what the real situation is, so we report all viewpoints. Please don't be furious with us; we are just reporting reality.
bullet ""I ma a Catholic, and we do not even believe in BIRTH CONTROL, much less ABORTION as a morally acceptable choice."
bullet It is not clear to what group you are referring when you mention "we:" Again, the magesterium is unalterably opposed to all of the "artificial" methods of birth control; they do allow what they regard as natural methods. But polls show that Roman Catholic laity use birth control about as frequently as the general population. This shows up in the average number of children born to Roman Catholic families. They are within a few percentage of the rest of the population. You may be personally opposed to birth control. The magesterium certainly is. But the general population of Roman Catholics certainly are not.

You might want to read a couple of books on this topic:

Tobin "The American religious debate over birth control 1907 - 1937"
Leslie Tentler, "Catholics and Contraception: An American History"

Again, please don't shoot the messenger. I can understand why you are distressed at the widespread acceptance of abortion, abortion access, contraceptive use and contraceptive availability. But don't take it out on us. We are just reporting reality.
bullet "You...are a group of f--king idiots!"
bullet That comment does not reflect well on your faith -- either on Christianity or Roman Catholicism.

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Change the name of this web site:

Incoming E-mail: "Change the web site from 'religious tolerance' to 'religious acceptance.'

Our response: Thanks for the suggestion, but I think that we should retain "religious tolerance" Many people interpret the term "religious acceptance" as meaning that they must accept the beliefs of other religions as equally valid and true, when compared to their own beliefs.

We don't want to promote that message. We welcome and celebrate religious diversity. We feel that diversity is OK, even if people believe that their religion alone is the "true" faith and that all other faiths are at least partly false.

Our main concern is that people accept the right of others to have religious freedom: to hold different religious ideas -- no matter how strange they seem. So we are working towards a culture in which people can hold tenaciously to their own beliefs, can reject or partly reject the validity of the beliefs of others, and work tirelessly to prevent anyone from experiencing religious oppression or discrimination.

So, for example, if a Christian student is prohibited from wearing a crucifix or cross, or a Jewish student is prohibited from wearing a Star of David, or a Wiccan student is prohibited from wearing a Pentacle, we would like to see the outrage to be the same in each case. It would be loud and persistent until the student's human rights were respected. We can and should fight for the students' rights even though we totally reject some of their religious beliefs.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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Site navigation: Home page > Comments > Questions > here

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Copyright © 2003 to 2014by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-APR-14-AUG-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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