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indi wrote

Alright, if you really want constructive feedback, I'll see what I can muster.

Critiquing religion is welcome, so long as the critique focusses on the institution itself rather than its members, and no generalizations are made on the beliefs or practices that any religion professes.

So you want to allow criticism of the "institutions"... but you don't want to allow criticism of the beliefs or practices? Frankly, that sounds ridiculous. It sounds like you want to insulate religion itself and everyone who practises it from criticism. The only thing left that people can criticize are the actual churches and organizations, and only on the basis of things they do that aren't part of the religion's beliefs or practices.

By that "logic", it would be legitimate to criticize (for example), a Catholic church corporation that allowed sexual abuse to happen... but not the priests who actually stood by and let it happen, and who probably used their religion's practices and beliefs to cover it up (for example, by threatening excommunication to victims). It would also not be possible to criticize the congregations who support the abusers and the cover-up because they choose to defend the religion rather than the victims. It would also not be possible to criticize a religious organization that includes sexual abuse as a part of its "rites" (as many have done). (Also, the vast majority of religions don't really have "institutions"; that's a very Christian-centric view of religion. Mosques, for example, are not like Christian churches; they're not organized entities with a leadership (imams are not like priests with their officially-sanctioned authority - anyone who leads the prayer is an imam) and hierarchy that you "join", they're more like community centres you just go to.)

I cannot see any sense in saying that a religion's beliefs or practices should not be open to criticism. It is specifically the beliefs and practices of religion that have caused so much harm throughout the ages. Pretty much every revolution in history has been as much against a powerful religion as against a powerful aristocracy. And the status quo and systems of oppression are always justified with religious arguments. Losing the power to criticize religion would be devastating to revolutionary thought.

I also don't see any sense in saying that adherents shouldn't be open to criticism. If we can criticize people for holding stupid and evil secular beliefs, like "race realism", then why shouldn't we be able to criticize people for holding stupid and evil religious beliefs? Why should stuff be insulated from criticism merely for being religious?

Add Christianophobia....


Here's why.

First, let's be clear on the definitions of "islamophobia" and "antisemitism". Both refer specifically to irrational criticism; criticism that cannot be justified by reason, and is just based on ignorance, lies, or inspired only by hatred or disgust. They do not include legitimately justified criticism, regardless of whether you agree with it or not.

For example, making a feminist critique of the sexism implicit in Islam (or widely apparent in surveys of believers) is not islamophobia, assuming the criticism is based on what's actually in the religion, and that the intention of the criticism is to encourage Islam to fix the problems. You can disagree about whether the critique is right - you could, for example, try to make the argument that Islam was far more enlightened about feminism than any other religion at the time of its founding - but the critique is nevertheless informed and constructive, so it is not islamophobic. Meanwhile, saying that Muslims want to invade "our countries" and rape "our" women and treat them as faceless objects yadda yadda... that's just fucking ridiculous, and not at all based in what most (or likely any) Muslims actually believe. That would be islamophobic.

So basically: "Islamophobia" and "antisemitism" refer to statements and beliefs that are:

  1. not informed
  2. not based on actual beliefs or practices; and
  3. not intended as constructive criticism to encourage believers to improve things (as opposed to merely intended to encourage/justify hurting/destroying).

There is no way anyone whose head isn't so far up their ass they can lick the backs of the teeth can doubt that "islamophobia" and "antisemitism" are a serious problem in the world right now; the statistics are showing dramatic increases in both pretty much everywhere.

So what about "christianphobia"?

Is there any evidence of widespread anti-Christian rhetoric that isn't informed, based on the beliefs/practices, or intended to encourage reform? I don't see any. I see plenty of criticism of Christianity, but all of it seems very well-informed, directly inspired by Christian beliefs/practices, and all about reforming the religion. Calling out the widespread bigotry against LGBT people by Christians in the US is not "christianophobia"... because the objective facts of opinion surveys and their own actions show they totally fucking deserve it.

Is there any evidence of calls for violence against Christians... or actual violence against Christians? Of course there are isolated incidents, but is this something that's happening on a large scale? No, it really isn't. We have the data, and Muslims and Jews are facing real violence, on top of plenty of rhetoric encouraging it. It just isn't happening to Christians. The paranoid delusions of right-wing media about a "Christian apocalypse" just don't stand up in reality.

Now, I'm sure at this point you're going to say: "But Indi, there is widespread persecution - and even violent persecution - against Christianity! Just look at Pakistan!" Yes, true, but there is a very important difference. Anywhere in the world there is persecution of Christianity, it is never... just... persecution of Christianity. Anywhere Christianity is being persecuted, all beliefs that are not the dominant religion are being persecuted. In Pakistan, for example, they're just as intolerant of Hindus, Sufis, and atheists. It's never "persecution of Christians". It's always "persecution of all religious minorities... including Christians". So there's no reason to single Christianity out.

By contrast, islamophobia and antisemitism is happening in places where pretty much every other religion is allowed to exist unmolested - even goddamn Scientology. The targeting of Muslims/Islam and Jews/Judaism is an alarming anomaly in otherwise tolerant societies. Thus they deserve explicit mention.

So there you go - a detailed criticism explaining why these additions are either not sensible, or not warranted. Banning all effective criticism of religious beliefs and believers is excessive, unjustifiable, and stands counter to every kind of progressive revolutionary value.

And "christianophobia" just isn't a thing.


changesnow wrote

Exactly my point. It was intended to sound dumb.

The reason being that loads of people have been banned for stating rational, logical, true things about Islam. Islam is, in my opinion, in 2018, the worst religion of the three main monotheistic ones. There is no religion with stronger oppression of women TODAY than in Islam. However, by saying this, which is objectively true and can be easily backed by facts, I am putting myself at risk of getting banned. I'm sorry I made you spend so much time on that "Christianophobia" thing. I didn't mean it. My issue with the ToS is that it makes it hyper-easy for people to get banned for stating opinions on some religions, but not others.

I'm not saying all religions should be banned of criticism, I love insulting everything I come across so I'd probably leave this site if that were the case.

However, I'm showing Raddle that they are biased towards Islam particularly (no, I'm not denying the Holocaust as one user accused me of in this post)

When a guy called "gonnagetbanned" made a post about religion on Raddle specifically, he made a very true point: "Why does Raddle stick with Islam and Judaism, when Communists and Anarchists openly reject religion as an enslaving force?"

It was a simple question, granted, but the 49 comments on it prove that the answer wasn't that simple. Granted, Islam is critiqued in right-wing media openly in the US, France... and it's 2018! However, that doesn't mean that poor u/gonnagetbanned should get banned for it.

But wait, he didn't, and it's worse. Many people have been banned before for saying "fuck Islam" (it's an opinion, should be allowed as not presenting any wrong information) (and none for saying "fuck Christianity" but you get my point), but he/she/them didn't.

In fact, he got banned for... (really guessing the motive here) "how little you know what you're engaging with" (according to the mod) You know what was the actual motive? He proved the mod wrong and that person couldn't deal with it. See this post: [Don't mind the fact that he created a second account afterwards, which is against the ToS, because he wouldn't had he not been banned.]

So there are two problems on the bans, one of which you agree with, at least (hopefully you'll agree with the other one too):

  1. It is way too easy to be banned for criticism of religion

  2. The mods (at least one of them) ban people for little to no reason, or because they don't like them

The first is obvious, as many users (if I give you too many examples I'm scared of getting banned myself lmfao) have been banned for criticizing Islam specifically, while all they have done is provide factual information and figures about it. (The reason why I mention practices and beliefs or some shit like that is because they accused u/gonnagetbanned to not be taking these into account)

The second is just as obvious: I think you and I can agree that I haven't broken any part of the ToS yet. However, if I were to insult one of the mods, you'd know why I wouldn't be here anymore. ;)

I may not have long before they ban me (haha), so..

Hope to read what you think soon!


indi wrote

My issue with the ToS is that it makes it hyper-easy for people to get banned for stating opinions on some religions, but not others.

I agree with that assessment, sorta... but not for the reasons you probably think.

The way I read the ToS, and the way I've read the culture of Raddle so far, vigorous criticism of anything is tolerated... provided that criticism is legitimate criticism, and not just ignorant spouting off (and, of course, provided it's expressed in an appropriate way, and in an appropriate forum, and so on). This is a very far-left forum, but I've seen vibrant debates on a number of leftist ideologies, ranging from anarchism to veganism (couldn't think of a leftist ideology that begins with "z"). This is not a forum where everyone sits around in a big circle-jerk talking only rainbows and happiness about the left and leftist ideologies. You can argue difficult topics, and you can even argue the ToS. To claim that Raddle is a dictatorship that represses dissent is frankly asinine.

But it's important to understand that while there is a certain level of intolerance for dumbassery - for "criticism" that is uninformed or poorly argued - there is a strong bias against dumbassery toward certain topics: no-one is likely to object if you make a braindead shitpost dumping on Identity Europa... but if you make a braindead shitpost dumping on Black Lives Matter, you may get some blowback. I don't see anything wrong with that. Raddle is a left-leaning forum, and it wears that fact on its sleeve. It's not like you can sensibly claim that you're surprised that there's a far-left bias here.

So what you say is correct. Sorta. You can make rational, informed criticisms of any religion on Raddle. But you can't get away with posting random opinions of some religions. It's not so much that it's "easy" to get banned as it is that it is easier to get banned when writing about certain religions.

And I would argue that's a good thing.

Because, as I pointed out, some religions are under greater threat than others. "Christianophobia" doesn't exist; "islamophobia" and "antisemitism" very much do. (And that, by the way, is an objective truth, which I can easily back up with facts such as hate crime statistics.) So it makes perfect sense for a forum that wants to be grounded in reality and empathy - ie, not a right-wing forum - to be more concerned with protecting the religions under threat than the ones that aren't. I mean... how does that not make sense?

Thus, Raddle will tolerate intelligent, informed, and cogent criticisms of Islam and Judaism and Christianity... but it will not tolerate ignorant, incoherent, or intolerant statements or beliefs about Islam or Judaism, while it won't care all that much about ignorant, incoherent, or intolerant statements or beliefs about Christianity.

So yes, if you're just going to spout off half-baked opinions, it is easier to get banned if those opinions are about Islam or Judaism, than if they're about Christianity. And considering the realities we're dealing with, I think that makes perfect sense. Islam and Judaism are actively targeted by bigots. Christianity is not.

There's another reason why it's true that some religions are safer to spout off about than others, and that's simply due to the fact that since this is an English-language forum (predominantly), statistically most people who contribute here won't be very well-informed about Islam or Judaism... but will be very well-informed about Christianity. So if someone spouts off about Christianity, their rambling is more likely to be accurate - or at least based in reality. Meanwhile, if someone spouts off about Islam or Judaism, odds are they're just plain wrong. More likely than not, everything they learned about Islam or Judaism comes from second-hand sources... which are very likely to be heavily biased, if not completely ignorant.

So I do agree that the ToS makes it easier to write about some religions than others. But I think the takeaway from that shouldn't be: "Therefore, Raddle is wrong." I think it should be: "Therefore, I should be more careful when I write about certain religions."

I think you and I can agree that I haven't broken any part of the ToS yet.

That's the second thing you assume we both agree on that we don't.

Let me repeat the definition of islamophobia I gave before. Islamophobic statements and beliefs are those that are:

  1. not informed
  2. not based on actual beliefs or practices; and
  3. not intended as constructive criticism to encourage believers to improve things (as opposed to merely intended to encourage/justify hurting/destroying).

Now, I don't know how informed your statement about Islam being the "strongest" oppressor of women is. I suspect: not very. But I've already explained how it can't be based on actual beliefs or practices (because beliefs/practices of which sect of Islam? which beliefs/practices? only the ones of fundamentalists?). And how exactly could it be considered "constructive"? If I were Joe Muslim in a Western country, what the hell am I supposed to do on being told that my religion is "the strongest oppressor"? How is that helping me? Seems to me it only helps the bigots who want an excuse to hate on Islam.

I'm not saying you deserve to be banned. Quite the opposite, I think this should be a teaching moment to point out the underlying islamophobia in a claim like "Islam is the worst whatever (oppressor of women, enemy of freedom, etc.)", which usually passes as perfectly reasonable in mainstream dialogue. This should be the moment where you stop and reflect on what you've previously let pass unexamined. I'm not calling for a banning; I'm merely pointing out that, as is so common with other socially-prevalent, systemically-supported prejudices like racism: you may be it, and not realize.

Whenever you're talking about something that you don't like, you should be really careful to check what you're about to say, in order to suss out any prejudices in it. Dumping it out onto the forum unfiltered is asking us - the community of Raddle - to do that checking for you... and that's not fair. If we're going to be forced to deal with your unfiltered prejudices - to hear them, pick them out, dissect them, explain them, and then debunk them - then I'd say we have every right to make you pay for forcing us to do that work you should have done yourself. And if the forum decides a ban is fair payment, well, then there it is.


indi wrote

I'm not going to comment on the moderation standards on Raddle, because I don't really follow the drama. All I can say with confidence is that the rules (the ToS, etc.) are sound. Whether the application of those rules is also sound, somebody else with more knowledge of these forums will have to address that. (The example you gave is not evidence of mod impropriety by any stretch of the imagination. First, I have no idea of the context of that post or its response; for all I know, this could only be one part of a wider, cross-forum campaign by "gonnagetbanned" to argue for "white genocide". Second, there are signs of shenanigans - of posts being edited or deleted after the fact, such as TheLegendaryBirdMonster quoting a sentence that doesn't exist... did it exist in the OP before it was edited?)

I can only offer you my personal experience:

Despite your assumption, I do not agree that it is "way too easy to be banned for criticism of religion". I am not only an atheist, I am an atheist activist. I routinely criticize religion, and while I haven't posted any of my own stuff on Raddle (it would feel weirdly self-promotional to do so), I'm pretty sure I've posted other people's stuff and made comments critical of religion (pretty sure, but I haven't exactly kept records on exactly what I've done on Raddle, so I couldn't swear on what I've done here). I've never even had a warning, let alone a ban. I've never observed any "excessive force" by mods, either.

I don't believe merely saying "fuck Islam" should warrant a ban... but I don't know the context in which "fuck Islam" was stated that earned a ban. And context always matters.

What appears to be the issue is that you think you are making cogent, rational criticisms of Islam, but the mods are telling you that you are not. So the million-upvote question here is: Are you making cogent, rational criticisms of Islam?

Let investigate....

There is no religion with stronger oppression of women TODAY than in Islam. However, by saying this, which is objectively true and can be easily backed by facts....

"Objectively true and easily backed by facts"? Are you sure you know what the words "objective" and "facts" mean? How does one "objectively" measure oppression? What SI unit does one use to quantify oppression? (I propose, taking inspiration from the candela, to call the SI unit of endured oppression the "Mandela". To measure of inflicted oppression, defined as "Mandela¯¹", it can be the "Strijdom".)

Okay, just because something is objective doesn't necessarily mean it's quantifiable. So what is the qualitative difference between types of oppression? If one group treats women like goddesses right up until the moment they violate one of the social rules, then they rape, torture, and murder them brutally... is that objectively worse than a group that treats women like second-class citizens and servants but otherwise ignores them over a full and productive lifetime?

What I'm getting at here is that the words "objective" and "facts" aren't just salt and pepper you can sprinkle onto any claim to make it more palatable. You have chosen to use those words because you hope they will pass unchallenged, and provide cover for the underlying claim. But if the underlying claim really were objective and factual, then you wouldn't need to assert it as so. You could just point me to the objective data that proves the fact.

There is no objective way to compare oppression. That's just nonsense. Even if you could objectively compare the rules for women in two different belief systems item-by-item, that doesn't say anything to the actual experience of the women. A belief system may have shockingly (to Western eyes) oppressive rules, but those rules may simply not be enforced, so the women themselves live quite freely. On the other hand, a belief system may have comparatively mild rules, or no "official" rules at all, but the women in that society may be subject to constant harassment, belittlement, and vicious abuse with threats of sexual violence if they dare step out of line (sound familiar?).

But there's an even bigger problem here, and that is that there is no such thing as "Islam".

Speaking from my experience as an activist who is always on the lookout of islamophobes trying to infiltrate our groups and take advantage of our platforms and legitimacy, one of the clearest red flags is when someone talks about "Islam" as if it is a single, monolithic thing. That's a pretty sure sign they haven't really done the legwork, and don't really care to. When you say "Islam" is oppressive, do you mean Sunni Islam? Shia? Sufi? Or do you mean Ismaili, Hanafi, Salafi, or Wahhabi Islam? Or do you mean all of them? It's one thing to use "Islam" as a shorthand when you're just making vague and inconsequential statements about all or most branches of Islam, or just the most popular branches... but you're trying to make a specific accusation. Have you really checked every single branch to see how women fare? I doubt that.

But maybe you'll claim you don't need to actually bother to, yanno, actually check the easily backed facts you claim are objectively true, because oppression of women is baked right into the core of the theology that all branches of Islam share. Except... that's not actually true. It turns out people have done analyses on both the Quran and the Christian Bible... and surprise, surprise, the latter is more violent and misogynistic. And there are more Christians, too. So... "objectively"... that would imply that Christianity is more oppressive. Clearly that entire line of thinking is complete bullshit.

That's because another red flag is when someone tries to pass off stuff from extremist or fundamentalist sects of Islam as "Islam" in general. There's no doubt that extremist and fundamentalist variants of Islam are horrifically misogynistic... but the same is true for extremist and fundamentalist variants of any religion. "A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband." Pretty disgusting quote, eh? That's from the official statement of Southern Baptist Convention, and it was repeated and endorsed by Mike Huckabee - who was almost a presidential candidate - so that's not even from some underground cult, it's from a pretty mainstream branch of Christianity. And yet, no one would say that "Christians" - generally speaking - believe that. Because that would clearly be bullshit. And yet, here you are, passing off the ideology of extremist and fundamentalist Muslim groups as something intrinsic to "Islam".

(As an aside, yet another red flag is when someone makes claims about Islam that they assert are so obviously true you don't actually need evidence provided for them. That's a pretty sure sign that there never was any evidence to begin with.)

It's one thing to claim that Islam, in general, is misogynistic... that's pretty low-hanging fruit, given all the stuff in the scriptures, and there's plenty of statistical data to back up the claim that misogyny is widespread among contemporary believers. It's quite another to make the claim that Islam is more misogynistic than other religions, or all religions, because pretty much all religions are misogynistic, and there is no sensible way to compare the "level of misogyny" between religions. By all means, argue that Islam is incompatible with general lefty goals - just as Christianity and Judaism are; that's a perfectly legitimate case to make (assuming you make it rationally, and on the basis of reality (and note: just because it's a legitimate case to make, doesn't mean it's right, or that people won't argue against it)). But arguing that Islam is "worse" than Christianity or Judaism... that's stepping into irrational - and, hence, bigoted - territory.

So the claim that Islam (or any religion) more "strongly" oppresses women than any other religion is neither objective nor factual. It is an opinion. It is not a particularly well-informed opinion, nor a coherent one, but it is an opinion you are free to have... though not necessarily free to express anywhere you please, such as on Raddle. Please don't try to pass it off as "objectively true".