Cee Lo Green and the problem with Ecumenicalism

Atheist Out Campaign logo On New Year’s Eve, Cee Lo Green annoyed (via) John Lennon fans everywhere by performing a version of Imagine but changing the line “nothing to kill or die for / and no religion too” to “nothing to kill or die for / and all religion’s true.”

Green’s version is self-evidently absurd but, not being much of a John Lennon fan, I didn’t have much – or anything – to say about this particular absurdity.

Greta Christina, however, makes a good point:

And while I think this desire to ignore religious differences comes partly from a desire to avoid religious wars and hatreds and bigotries, I also think it comes, at least sometimes, from an aversion to conflict that verges on the neurotic. And I definitely think it comes from an intense unwillingness to think very carefully about one’s own beliefs. Ecumenicalism is like a gentlemen’s agreement: you don’t ask hard questions about my religion, and I won’t ask hard questions about yours. You don’t point out contradictions or falsehoods or absurdities in my beliefs, or ask whether they have any good evidence to support them, and I’ll do the same for you. We’ll all hold hands and sing “Kumbaya,” and we’ll utter vague deepities about the beautiful mystery of it all… and we’ll stick our fingers in our ears and ignore the atheists outside the campfire circle, the ones who are yelling, “None of you has any good reason to think that any of this is true!”

Yeah. Good luck with that.

When a religion, or a religious believer, makes a factual statement then the rest of us are more than entitled to ask: “Why do you believe that?” And if there is no answer then the most rational response is to simply dismiss the claim.

Insisting that we take these claims seriously demonstrates an attitude that values insincerity above honesty and such an attitude really doesn’t deserve any respect whatsoever.

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