Religion, and religious texts are always open to interpretation; everyone has a different take on the Talmud, the Koran or ‘Dianetics‘ (a Scientology spirituality manual). Science is similar, but not so similar that when a mathematician stumbles across, for example, a strange binomial sequence, they’ll read it as “Traditional Values are Gorgeous; queers are sinners and abortion is evil” as what might happen if you happen to be someone as mentally retarded as this and actively following an ancient book.
This idea is interesting. It tells us two things. One, that religion can be used as a device for evil or good and since it doesn’t rely on any tangible or rational evidence, can remain unquestioned. Two: that when the pope declares that homosexuality is on the same level as Climate Change as far as threats to humanity is concerned, he’s probably been locked indoors too long. But then again, this is hardly surprising. The pope has always been rabidly homophobic, anti-abortion, absolutist and generally fairly senile.
Interesting, then, that lobby groups such as the Christian Family Association of Australia think that the teachings of Jesus were avidly against homosexuality, abortion and equality. Just look at this diagram here:
Unfortunately the diagram is not parody. These people earnestly think that Internet Censorship is carrying out God’s will (ironic, really, seeing as the Internet probably didn’t exist in the time of the bible’s writing).
This excellent blog post further explores the alleged misinterpretation of biblical texts well. But is it a misinterpretation? Surely, bigotry aside, it’s just another take on a certain book? I can find quotes for and against homophobia; and although the overwhelming majority of religious Christians feel animosity to homosexuals (and secularism), it doesn’t mean the bible is necessary homophobic…if you choose to read it that way. It’d be interesting to see how much overlap or association religiousness has with homophobia (and abortion, etc). Does anyone think that an overlap as such is significant?
And this my main gripe with dogma and religion: if people follow it so devoutly and if it is so contradictory, conflated and confused then, then there can be untold consequences. The Taliban, for example (an extreme one too), distort the message of the Koran to brainwash their militia. The question, then, is would they be able to do it as successfully or as passionately without the Koran? Could they be an irreligious militia and be just as effective? If so, then what’s the point in following (and subsequently misreading) the Koran anyway? And how might one vote differently if they were religious? They would have a different slant on things perhaps.
To conclude, I think it’s ridiculous to follow dogma as a way to guide one’s life. But I think you all know that already.