03 May 2012

Jon Stewart's only fear: Religion

Jon Stewart isn't afraid to criticize people for their nasty beliefs -- unless the source of those beliefs is religion. Then, whatever it is, it's OK with him.

Here's how he put it on last night's show:
You can't cherry pick the worst aspects of a religion and then hold every member of that religion solely responsible for it. 
Yes, you can. That is exactly what we should do.

We should hold Mormons responsible for the racism that is found throughout the Book of Mormon; Jews, for the cruel and intolerant passages in the Hebrew Scriptures; Christians, for the nasty bullshit in both of their testaments; and Muslims, for the entire hodgepodge of hateful horseshit that is the Quran.

The individual members of a religion are not solely responsible for the worst aspects of their religion. But they are responsible for believing it.

And we should hold them responsible for every rotten cherry on their religion's tree. If they don't like the cherries, they should pick another tree.

Here's the Daily Show video.


idrumgood said...

I usually agree with you, but not here. You're advocating something dangerously close to racism (relgiousism?)

I'm a white American, am I held responsible for the slaughter of the indigenous back in the 1500's? Is the 12 year old German girl still responsible for the Holocaust?

Holding an entire group responsible for the doings of a few is just as hateful and bigoted as those you claim to be above.

Steve Wells said...

I am a white American, too, idrumgod, but I do not approve of the way the Native Americans were treated. I didn't choose my race or place of birth. But a believer chooses what to believe.

A person who believes in the Bible, for example, approves of its contents, and, therefore, should be held accountable for those beliefs. Mitt Romney believes in the Book of Mormon and agrees with its contents. He is, therefore, a racist -- not by birth, but by choice. The same applies to all believers. They, and they alone, are responsible for their beliefs.

idrumgood said...

Is it true that every Mormon is a racist? That every Christian would condemn the gays to hell?

Sure, their religions may teach it, but they certainly may not believe it. My mother is a Christian, but is not bigoted.

Your examples are true, Mitt is a racist, and by choice at that. But all Mormons are not. So it is still unfair and unjust to call all Mormons racist, despite the teachings of their religion. If they chose to believe those tenants and are indeed racist, then by all means, hold them accountable.

Ian said...

I'm going to disagee, Steve, in that I think you're missing an obvious point: most religious believers ignore the majority of what their holy books say, and cherry-pick items.

This, of course, leads me to ask why they bother with the cherry-picking and don't just discard the entire nonsensical package. If you don't believe that non-virgin women should be stoned to death on their wedding night, even though it's in the Bible, I don't see a good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

So I think the real criticism to direct at most believers is that they lack the intellectual and moral fortitude to reject the whole thing, even though they've already rejected a good chunk of what their holy books mandate.

nazani said...

Perhaps, if Jews hadn't been isolated and persecuted for centuries in Europe, there wouldn't be such a close bond between their religion and their ethnic identity. My guess is the same thing is happening now with Muslims. The more they are socially isolated by Europeans and Americans, the less chance someone raised in a faithful family will feel comfortable in walking away from that faith or be able to gradually drift away from it.

Anyway, I've worked with both Jews and Mormons in the Army who were only Jewish or Mormon when they visited their parents on leave. While we celebrate courageous people who wash their hands of religion, let's not bash those who aren't willing to cut all ties.

Steve Wells said...

Sure, there are many believers that are unaware of the teachings of their faith. They are either too lazy to read the texts that they claim to believe in, or too dishonest to admit that the nasty aspects of their religion exist. And they'll continue in their lazy, dishonest beliefs as long as no one confronts them. That's why so many nasty beliefs still exist.

We need to make believers ashamed of every belief that they should be ashamed of. Rather than pretend (with them) that there's nothing for them to be ashamed of.

nazani said...

@Steve Wells- Were you replying to me? Where did I say that the non-observant people in my units were lazy or ignorant of their own religion? If people aren't acting according to their nominal religion, then I would just be a dick for heckling them. I don't need to see everybody renounce their faiths in an overt way; letting it fade out quietly achieves the same end.

You might also consider the ramifications of telling your chopper mechanic, parachute rigger, supply or mess sergeant, or CO what they should be ashamed of.

Anders said...

I do agree that if you believe in a religion, then you must be held accountable for those beliefs. Not necessarily for what people did in the name of those beliefs, but most definitely for the beliefs themselves.

Sidenote: his name is Jon Stewart, not John

Steve Wells said...

No mazani, I didn't mean to imply that you were calling non-observant religious people lazy or ignorant.

That's what I am doing. And maybe I'm a dick for doing so. But I think when it comes to religion, the world needs a few good dicks.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks, Anders, for the correction on Jon Stewart's name.

Darren Delgado said...


Please continue the dickery. It is needed for a good cause, and appreciated. I applaud you.

Stephen said...

Darren Delgado said...
"Steve, Please continue the dickery. It is needed for a good cause, and appreciated. I applaud you."

I second that! Keep it up.
(Ooooh... bad pun!)
Steve Weeks