indi wrote

It does violate my principles (I am vigorously opposed to copyright law), but my principles are not at issue here. What's at issue are the Satanic Temple's principles - that's what determines whether their action is hypocritical or not. And it clearly doesn't violate their principles, since they regularly use the state's own rules to challenge the state's hypocrisies. In fact, that's kind of their jam.

You don't agree with the tool they used to protect their public image - and, indirectly, public perception of Satanists in general? That's fine, and I don't disagree in theory. But they're fighting systemic discrimination, and there's nothing "lame" about using your enemy's own abusive rules and tools against them. Using the state's laws to challenge state discrimination is pretty much their routine.

In this case, a big and powerful media company stole the Satanic Temple's media and used it to perpetuate negative stereotypes against them... seems perfectly logical and legitimate to use the same tools that media company would use use against them back against the company. I mean, do you doubt for a second that if the Satanic Temple had used images from the Sabrina show to depict Netflix execs as evil, that Netflix wouldn't use the same law to sue the Satanic Temple? Of course they'd do that, so it's pretty effective to use their own tactics and tools against them. There are few things more effective than using an opponent's own weaponry against them.


indi wrote

"Corny" I'd say is actually pretty apt, from what I know of them. They're almost always on the right side of the issues... but... yeah, they're a little... much.

But about the suit, it's not the IP infringement that's their real beef, it's the stereotyping while using their identifying symbol. (I'm not aware of anyone using their statue in any other shows, but I have a hard time believing that they'd sue a show that used the statue while not negatively stereotyping them.) There's nothing "lame" or hypocritical about standing up for free speech and the freedom to offend while simultaneously objecting to someone putting bullshit words in your mouth in a way that makes it look like you support it.


indi wrote

They're suing Netflix because that show apparently made Satanists the villains and then stole the Satanic Temple's statue design. I don't see anything "terrible" about that; it seems a perfectly legitimate reason to sue. If someone made a show about an evil person and then used a picture of you without permission for that evil person, you'd have a pretty damned good reason to sue, too.

Given that the Satanic Temple has a vested interest in combating the widespread social perception of Satanists as "evil", why wouldn't they object to a show that spreads that stereotype? Since when is it "terrible" to object to being stereotyped? And it's not just that the old stereotypes are being perpetuated; Satanists are being stereotyped as evil with the identifying symbols of the Satanic Temple. I mean, it would be bad enough if the Sabrina show just played the old "Satanists are evil" stereotype... but the fact that they're doing with something that pretty directly points at the Satanic Temple specifically was just asking to be sued.

I don't know what "bad takes" they've had on Twitter because I don't Twitter, but everything else I know about the Satanic Temple has to do with them trolling US lawmakers by saying "either allow all religions or no religions" in various ways. For example, when they want to put up a Ten Commandments display, the Satanic Temple tries to put up a massive statue of Baphomet (incidentally, that's what was used in the Sabrina show)... or when they're doing only Christian prayers before government meetings, the Satanic Temple tries to do a Satanic invocation... and so on. I don't see anything "terrible" about any of that, and in fact they've had some good results forcing (Christian) religious privilege into the spotlight and triggering change.


indi wrote

So one can simplify it with "which candidate will kill the least people" and at that point walking away from that shit makes way more sense to me.

I'm not sure the people who will be killed by the candidate will agree that this position makes more sense.

If we were living in a society much like we had even 10 short years ago, where there really wasn't all that much difference between candidates, then fine. But look around. You can't seriously say there's no real difference between, for example, Bolsonaro and Haddad. Those days are over. We are living in a period where the far right is not only ascendant, they are getting real power. And they are doing real harm.

A vote against Bolsonaro wouldn't have changed the world, sure. It wouldn't have ended capitalism; it wouldn't have ushered in a new age of voluntary association; yes, not much would have changed. Except... a lot of vulnerable people would have suffered a lot less than what they're likely to suffer in the next four years. That's not nothing. Walking away from that does not make way more sense to me.

I'm frankly appalled that people are so casually willing to put esoteric and ultimately meaningless principles over the very real suffering of vulnerable people. I am very opposed to violence - I do not believe that violence should ever be used to advance a political agenda, it should only be used in self defence... but if I happen to pass by a queer person or Jewish person or whatever being beat on by a gang of neo-Nazi thugs... yeah, I'm fucking going to get in there and help that person. I don't believe that action violates my principle of non-violence, because it was an action I took in a crisis to save someone who needed help. People are always more important than principles.


indi wrote

Is it really necessarily true that voting legitimizes the system? I'm not ready to accept that uncritically.

If you are in a situation where there is a realistic chance that a far-right, race-baiting, anti-immigrant demagogue could take power - a situation that is depressingly common of late - it can't really be true that the right thing to do in the situation is to sit back and just watch it happen. That just doesn't compute, ethically. Even if the alternative isn't great, stopping the demagogue seems important enough - especially taking vulnerable minorities into consideration - that you should take whatever action necessary to prevent it. There's really no more impactful action you can take to stop an asshole trying to use the democratic process to attain power than to use that very process against them. So that should be an action you should be taking, no?

Put that way, a vote against a racist demagogue is not a vote in favour of the system. It's exactly what I just said it was: It's an action against the demagogue. Nothing more, nothing less. It can be done at the same time as other actions, like protesting the system itself. There's no contradiction or hypocrisy there.

You could also think of it as a form of "self-defence". I think we all realize that punching back at someone who is in the process of trying to murder you is not in any way a legitimization of violence; it's not the same thing at all as punching someone who wasn't attacking you. Same action (punching), very different meaning. Context matters. The same action - voting - could be about legitimizing the system... or it could just be an act of desperation in taking the most-likely-to-be-effective action to protect yourself against a threat.

I'll grant that it's likely that some people are going to interpret your vote as legitimizing the system, but fuck them, because the same people are probably going to interpret you not voting as the same thing (for example, by saying, "if you don't vote, you accept what you get"). If you're really that concerned about how your action will be interpreted, then be vocal about your reasons for doing it. But saying you can't take meaningful action to prevent real harm because someone might (likely wilfully) misinterpret your reasoning seems ridiculous to me.


indi wrote

Concrete examples are generally impossible, because dehumanization is so context specific. In plain English, it's like saying "an example of assault is punching someone"... except punching someone is not assault in a boxing match (or in self-defence, or when filming an action scene, or when someone says "hey, punch me as hard as you can, I want to see if I can take it", etc.). Understanding "assault" that way - through examples - doesn't really work. It's better to understand "assault" by the definition of "assault".

So rather than examples, just think of the basic definition of dehumanization: denying or stripping away someone's fundamental rights.

Reply to comment by /u/throwaway in My Beliefs by /u/GeneralHelghast


indi wrote

If it seems that way, it's probably only because Christianity was so much more flamboyant in violently spreading its doctrines, and much better at keeping records of its progress.

It's very likely - in fact, almost certain - that pagans butchered just as many heretics to establish their beliefs as dominant as any other religious tradition did, and the only reason we don't know it is because they didn't keep records. We know for a fact, for example, that ancient European religious practised human sacrifice, and that they used prisoners of war to do so. Who do you think they developed those techniques and practices on, if not nonbelievers in neighbouring tribes?

(It's also likely that even if we did have perfect records, people would probably be moving the goalposts about which traditions really "count" as pagan and which don't.)

Trying to determine what the "true" beliefs of your ancestors was is a waste of time. Even if it were possible to determine, there's probably no valid answer. It's possible that the very first tribal shaman who came up with the very first proto-religious claim used force and threats to get their tribe to go along with them, meaning that if you're ruling out beliefs forced upon your ancestors as not "truthfully belonging" to them, then no beliefs "truthfully belong" to them.

And not only is it a waste of time, it's counterproductive. All it's ultimately doing is separating humans into different "teams" based on bullshit. Who cares whether proto-European pagan beliefs are "rightfully and truthfully" yours and Semitic beliefs are not? We're all just monkeys from Africa in the end anyways.


indi wrote

I really don't have a better term, unfortunately, and frankly I've never really been fond of "dehumanization" either. You've actually hit on some reasons why - like that it encourages human-centric thought and implies that animals aren't worthy of even basic rights (like the right to not experience unnecessary suffering).

"Dehumanization" is simply the term of art most people use for the concept, so that's what I use. The concept isn't merely about doing things that you wouldn't do normally to other people - like punching them or ostracizing them - it's about denying the basic fundamental rights and dignity that everyone has. Using violence against people to stop them from acting badly is fine (assuming the violence is necessary and proportional, which it usually use when most anti-fascists are dealing with fascists) - that's not denying their fundamental rights or dignity. Hell, sometimes even your best friends need a smack or two to stop them from doing something stupid that might hurt other people (like trying to drive drunk or high, for example).

Perhaps a less theory-heavy way to think of the difference is to imagine the person at some point in the future when their head has cleared from the current clouding caused by drugs, emotion, or fascist thoughts, or whatever, and ask: would they thank you for what you did? In the cases of restraining someone who wants to drive drunk or punching or ostracizing a fascist who is advocating to take away others' rights... it's perfectly believable that some future them with their head out of their ass would say "thanks for trying to stop me then; I was a real shit, and you stopped me from doing things I would now be regretting". But in the case of raping a fascist (for example)... it's hard, if not impossible, to imagine them thanking you for that even after they've renounced fascism.

Anyway, now that it's clear you're not talking about dehumanization in the sense of stripping someone of their fundamental rights or dignity - that you're not talking about the kind of dehumanization that would make things like rape or enslavement okay - that's good enough for me.


indi wrote

Dehumanization is not just a form of violence. It is the only form of violence that justifies further violence, even when the need for violence is past. It is the only form of violence that says taking away people's basic rights and dignity is okay.

Punching Nazis (to use a popular example) is necessary because they are a threat to others, and must be stopped (and, as you note, you can't discuss things with them; there's almost certainly no peaceful way to stop them, so... punch away). But once the threat is over - once the Nazis have surrendered, and are no longer pursuing or pushing their ideologies in any way - then the job you needed violence for is done; there's no need to punch them anymore. At most you need to keep watch on them to make sure they stay surrendered, but so long as they do, you've won, and you don't need violence anymore.

But with dehumanization, it isn't over. Once you've managed to dehumanize someone, you've justified any violence against them, for any means, without end. Even after they've surrendered, they're still worthy of violence. You're no longer using violence to stop them from hurting others, you're now just using it to hurt them, to punish them, because they deserve it; because they don't deserve the same respect a person deserves. At that point the violence is no longer justified violence... it's just abuse.

Every single atrocity in history - every single genocide, pogrom, ethnic cleansing, holocaust, and hate crime, and even every case of racism or systemic discrimination - it all starts with dehumanization. It's no accident that every fascist dictator wannabe starts with dehumanization of some group, be it Jews, immigrants, people of colour, Mexicans, Muslims, or whatever. Dehumanization is the only way to turn an otherwise "normal" population into one that cheers on denying certain groups their rights, rounding them up, throwing them into concentration camps, and ultimately extermination. You can't do that with any other form of violence: No amount of punching Jewish people in the face would ever lead to the Holocaust; it is only via dehumanizing them can you get people on board with the idea of targeting them.

And there has never been - nor can there ever be - any case where dehumanizing people led to good. Because dehumanizing is ultimately arguing that people don't deserve the basic rights and dignity that all people deserve - even fascists. And anyone who is arguing about stripping people of their fundamental rights or dignity is not on the side of justice, and never can be.

I don't think our disagreement here is about whether dehumanization is always wrong. I think the problem here is that what you're calling dehumanization isn't really dehumanization. "Subhumans, animals, or vermin" is a shorthand for what most people think is not worthy of any consideration or respect, so if you still think those things are worth of consideration or respect then we'd need different terms. Most people wouldn't think twice about exterminating vermin that infested their home - they wouldn't even consider the vermin's feelings on the matter, they wouldn't make any attempt at trying to find a less extreme solution, they wouldn't hope or bother to wait for the vermin to become better and benign, and they wouldn't give the vermin a second thought after they'd been eradicated. If that's not how you feel about vermin, then we need a new term to use with you to capture those sentiments.

Everything you've described about how you want to deal with fascists does not smell like real dehumanization. The fact that you recognize fascists can change their beliefs, and that you want them to "hopefully start to learn something and change", means that you are not really dehumanizing fascists. You are recognizing them as people. Bad people, yes; people who need to be stopped, yes; people who can't be reasoned with, yes; people who deserve a boot to the face for what they're trying to do to others, yes... but none of that is dehumanization - especially if you have good reason for thinking those things (and you do; they're fascists, after all).

None of the things you want to do to fascists is actually dehumanizing them, nor does any of it even require dehumanizing them. Wanting people to shut up, ostracizing them, and even using violence against them - none of those things require dehumanizing them; all of those things can be perfectly legitimate tactics to stop people if they're doing bad things... like fascists are.

If you were really okay with dehumanizing fascists, then you would be okay with raping them. But you're not okay with raping them, so you're not really okay with dehumanizing them. If you recognize that, as bad as they are, they are still people who might be able to change and become better, then you're not really okay with dehumanizing them.

That's what I think the nature of this disagreement is: What you are calling dehumanization isn't real dehumanization. If you won't support raping fascists, then you don't really support dehumanizing them. If you won't support rounding them up, gassing them and throwing them into ovens and mass graves, then you don't really support dehumanizing them. Because that is what real dehumanization leads to. If you listen to those who really dehumanize people, that's the kind of stuff they talk about (even when they try to pretend they're "just joking", as they usually do to cover their true desires). That is why it is the preferred tool of fascists. And that is why we can never use it ourselves.


indi wrote

I didn't say anything about using violence; I was talking about dehumanization.

Violence is not always wrong. It can be a legitimate tool to use against an oppressor (or "bully", if you prefer), for example.

Dehumanization is ALWAYS wrong. Even when you are fighting a fascist - yes, even when using violence against them - you should NEVER strip away or deny their humanity. You are not fighting them because they're not human, or because they're "subhuman" or "animals" or "vermin"; you are fighting them because they are treating others as not human, or as "subhuman" or "animals" or "vermin". And if that's not true - if you are fighting them because they're not human, or because they're "subhuman" or "animals" or "vermin" - then you are them; you'd just be a different flavour of fascist.

There is no "paradox of tolerance" here. Fascists are wrong for dehumanizing others, but we don't need to dehumanize them to fight them. We just need to fight them. We can do that while fully acknowledging and accepting their basic humanity.


indi wrote

Dehumanizing fascists may not make you a bigot specifically, but dehumanizing anybody is not something we should be tolerating, let alone encouraging. Dehumanization is like torture: it doesn't matter how bad the person you're doing it to is, you're still the bad guy for doing it.


indi wrote

I joined to learn more about these things precisely because I'm very aware that my understanding of them has been tainted by poor representation by most sources.

I would probably have failed such a questionnaire. And probably still would.

The end result would have been that it would have kept out someone genuinely interested in these ideas (and still actively learning about them, drinking in all the discussions here about them - and as a fair exchange, offering my own knowledge and expertise on the things I know well, like programming). Meanwhile someone whose goal was to troll would probably manage to answer them all - possibly with the help of a cheat sheet posted by trolls elsewhere.

In summary: A good tool to help trolls... not so much the community. But maybe that's the goal?


indi wrote

Sure those things are good, and arguably more generally useful than a standard graphics API... but the whole point of the TS system is that things can be developed independently of each other, in parallel. Work on the Graphics TS was being done by SG13 completely independently of Networking in SG4 and any other study group like SG6 (Numerics) or SG16 (Unicode).

In fact, the Graphics API was basically finished, and running - with demos and even supporting tooling. And it's not like the human interface experts from SG13 will migrate over to Networking or Coroutines now that SG13 is shut down. So nothing has really been gained by cancelling Graphics... just a lot of time wasted.

What really killed Graphics was SG15, and the new focus on developing a standard package/dependency management system. One can hope that if that actually happens, the standard can be modularized, which would make it much easier to add bigger things to the standard. At that point, Graphics can probably be revived.


indi wrote

your picture of christian history is pretty generalised....

Oh yes, I freely admit I was speaking in very hand-wavey terms, and focusing particularly on the major American denominations and ideas of what Christianity broadly "looks like" to the average English-speaker. I wasn't really trying to make a point about the nature of Christianity or Christendom, I was just trying to get at the idea of "affiliation".

The idea of "affiliating" with a church or religious group is very much a Western, and mostly American, idea, probably going back to all the inter-denominational strife and endless "schism-ing" in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. I'm constantly amazed at how well most Christians can identify their particular branch of Christianity (reminds me of that famous Emo Phillips joke); that's not something adherents of most other faiths can do. (I wasn't even a Christian, but I knew to say I was "Anglican" to some people and "Pentecostal" to others to avoid headaches.) While some strains of Zen Buddhism do have "official" hierarchies, that stuff is only of interest to the most devout - mostly the people intending to become part of the hierarchy themselves; most adherents would look at you confused if you asked them how to "join" their religion, and probably answer with something vague like: "You just sorta... do it."

I don't deny Zen Buddhism is a religion; it undoubtedly is. I just don't agree that the concept of "affiliation" makes as much sense with it as it does for most forms of Christianity.

For sure there are plenty of Christian denominations that don't really fit the standard mould, but are just as much Christian.

As for baptism, it's not usually something that's required to join, but it's often part of the process - especially if you're not coming from another Christian tradition. And if there's not a literal baptism with water and all, a lot of traditions have the notion of a "metaphorical" baptism - baptism by the Holy Spirit (such as with Pentecostals) - or they talk about being "born again", or "accepting Jesus into your heart" or whatever. There isn't always a literal, physical joining ritual, but there's almost always the idea that you need to "do something" to really join the congregation, and there's a some kind of delineation between people who are "in" and people who aren't, whether taken seriously or not.

I have to describe these things in very hand-wavey terms, because there are so many different forms, and many churches will happily welcome new members right off the street (if only to grow their numbers, or in the hope of fully converting them later) and don't really take the literal word of what's in their theology all that seriously (for example, allowing communion to the unbaptized). Covering all the various practices in anything but the vaguest terms would be too much. Much easier to just generalize what the biggest denominations (Catholics, Pentecostals, etc.) do, and hand-wave away the less common variations.


indi wrote

Yes, that's why they're so fresh in my mind (Nazis being in the news these days; Satanists, not so much). But they do believe in a literal Satan, and venerate him.

I know there are other groups that literally worship Satan, but my knowledge is mostly just about Canada and the UK, so I can't think of any more off the top of my head.


indi wrote

I've always thought the term "organized" is pretty useless. It was coined in a Christian context - and particularly an American Christian context, which was all about a slew of different Christian denominations coexisting - and Christianity is by and large all about organizations and official hierarchies and whatnot. With most Christian denominations, one actually has to take some active measure to join the congregation - usually being baptized. And there is almost always an official dogma, with a sanctioned leader or group of leaders to specify it and make ruling on applications of it, and functionaries at various levels with various powers to teach and enforce it. Generally speaking, if you're a Christian, you have a clear and explicit dogma you're supposed to believe in - supplied by your sect - and any deviation from that dogma is heresy. (This has become less true in modern times, as a lot of people have become "unaffiliated Christians"... still Christians, still believing at least basically the same dogma as many/most churches... just refusing to be beholden to any Earthly religious leadership, preferring a direct line to God instead.)

But those ideas don't really apply to most other religions. You're slamming into the limits of the term here, with Buddhism. Most forms of Buddhism are not particularly rigidly defined, and variation in the dogma is not only tolerated, sometimes it's encouraged. Zen in particular is all about eschewing dogma and finding your own path. Most forms are also quite comfortable coexisting with other beliefs, within limits, which is why you get crossovers with Shinto, and things like the Triple Religion. (All this is especially true for the more modern schools of Buddhism.)

If someone is practising zazen, I'd say that's pretty much practising some form of Zen Buddhism (possibly the Japanese form, whose name I cannot recall at the moment). Picking and choosing what works is the whole point of it. If sitting straight-backed in a full-lotus with your hands in a mudra doesn't work for you, but stretching out on a couch with your arms behind your head does, then the latter is not "wrong". Similarly, if the sound of a waterfall doesn't relax you and help you clear your mind, but some melodic death metal in the background does, then go ahead and put on the Amon Amarth. Rejecting authority and finding your own way is really the whole point of Zen Buddhism.

If someone rejects the label, that's fine; labels can still apply even if refused. It makes no sense in any case to talk about "organized Zen Buddhism" or being "affiliated" with Zen Buddhism. (I think the term "(un)affiliated" is also pretty useless outside of a mostly American Christian context.)


indi wrote

Born atheist; never disinformed.

But I was raised in a very Christian society. I had to say prayers every day in school, had to go to multiple Bible study classes a week (my parents were atheists too, but they couldn't not send me, or there would have been hell to pay, pun intended - worth it, though: I even learned how to study the various Bibles with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew concordances), and was harangued about religious stuff at just about every opportunity (for example, when I started playing music with my friends, the music teacher at school pulled us aside to warn us of the dangers of Satan in pop music, and even gave us a book on backmasking - also parents of friends often arranged sleepovers with pretty transparent intentions of taking me to Church Sunday morning). None of it stuck. I don't look back on it with anger or outrage. Their intentions were good; everyone thought they were "saving" me.

So: atheist, but I could quote chapter and verse at ya like the goddamn Pope if I wanted to.


indi wrote

This "spiritual bypassing" phenomenon sounds like just another way religious people are pressured to put themselves above "worldly" problems, accept suffering and misery, and focus instead on their spiritual well-being for the hereafter. Another very pernicious example of that in Christianity is forgiveness: Too many people are forced to accept horrible situations because it's seen as "Christ-like" to forgive transgressors - one tragically frequent example is rape victims pressured to forgive the people who raped them.

Not being religious, I can't offer any personal suggestions on how to improve things. Religious people have to figure out a way to balance their spiritual concerns and their "worldly" concerns. Theological pressures to downplay or ignore real-world suffering need to be identified, and rooted out.

I'm not Christian, but I'd say that if you looked at the social and personal injustices around you and asked "what would Jesus do", and your answer is anything but "get angry and get busy fixing things", you're not talking about the same Jesus I read about in the Bible.


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".