Religious complaints are just so childish


It’s not a tantrum, it’s passive resistance. Haven’t you heard of Gandhi?

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but you’d be wrong. This isn’t about mocking religion, or portraying it as some sort of deficit of intelligence or maturity, and there will be no reference to a Sky Daddy (apart from that one, obviously). This isn’t about the beliefs, but how they get applied.

Something I noticed recently, while covering various arguments about social policy, employment legislation and the inevitable complaints of persecution, is that when you scratch a religious person of a certain stripe (and let’s be fair, there are plenty who don’t behave like this), it seems there’s a small, sulky child just under the skin. Here are a few examples to show what I mean:

But you let me do it yesterday! (see also: Granny lets me do it) – An incredible number of arguments for religious privilege boil down to “we’ve always done it this way.” Bishops in the Lords, established religion, marriage restricted to couples of the opposite sex – they’ve been like this for aaaaages. Now you want to change it? Sorry, no deal. I got to have my way before, so that creates a binding precedent and proves that you’re being completely unreasonable.

How come Mohammed can do it? – It could be anyone, but to be honest, it’s mostly Mohammed who gets the envious glances. Make any mild criticism of any religion, and you can bet that someone will say “You wouldn’t say that about Islam.” Even if true, it’s not a response so much as a whine. Then there are the Uniform Wars – he gets to wear a bangle, she gets to wear a scarf, how come I can’t wear a cross? No, I don’t want a badge, badges are smelly, I want a necklace! And they get to stay up until 9, and they have an Xbox in their room…

I don’t want to share! – The flip side of the Argumentum ad Islam, this is about obstructing equality and outrage at someone else wanting to use your toy. You weren’t even playing with it until they came along, but if they get to use it, it would obviously ruin your enjoyment of the now-tarnished toy forever. Try to imagine how existing marriages would be damaged if it was possible for same-sex couples to get hitched – really try. Get anything? Me neither. But incredibly, this is still a key element of the campaign against marriage equality.

Playing Child

His friends were always welcome to be the human sacrifice

It’s my house, so I make the rules – When you have a guest in your house, you could make them welcome and accommodate their preferences, or if you’re a six-year-old, you could insist that they should play what you want, with your rules, especially if that means you always win. Just think of it as exploiting home advantage. This works just as well for houses of any size: no, you can’t have official recognition of your heathen rituals; no, not even a day off for your most holy day – this is a Christian country. (Terms and conditions apply)

You’re the worst parents ever! – Nothing helps a tantrum like a complete loss of perspective. If you’ve been encouraged to pick up your toys so that they don’t get broken, it’s an unconscionable restriction of your freedom of expression. If you’re expected not to preach hate-filled bigotry while being paid to perform a public service, your situation is directly comparable to whatever extreme example of persecution you like. Bonus points for mentioning George Orwell or Nazis.

And if all else fails:

It’s not fair! – Fairness is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder is you. Nothing more needs to be said.

Images courtesy of trexor14 and colcerex, used with permission


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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

3 responses to “Religious complaints are just so childish”

  1. mgm75 says :

    The response I always have for the “we are a Christian country” is always to cite that the church-going population of the UK is around 3-4% I thenk ask why they think such a minority ought to have such an unfair and disproportionate level of preferential treatment.

    Usually in response I get a blank look or a deliberate attempt to change the subject (which is usually another of your points… “it’s always been this way.”)

  2. Nicole Moseley says :

    I’m a christian, and I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now. I don’t want to disrespect you in any way. I find it is best to figure out what I believe that is positive rather than worrying about the deficits of what other people believe. You don’t offend me. I could care less about trinkets or anything else. I believe God loves everyone – Christian, athiest, agnostic, Hindu, Islamic, etc. But that doesn’t mean you have to believe in God. Do you believe in doing good? Do you believe in being healthy? Finding out what you do believe in might be a good place to start.

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. A very big part of this blog is about working out what I do or don’t believe. You say you don’t object to anything, but you seem to think I should be writing about something else or you wouldn’t have said this.

      My primary objection to the complaints mentioned here is that they’re used to push a specific sectarian agenda. I think it’s important to challenge that. Do you think I should just ignore this self-interested pleading?

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