14 novembre 2015

Le problème avec la tolérance religieuse...

Le problème avec la tolérance religieuse c'est qu'au nom du respect et de l'ouverture, elle impose la censure.

Or, s'il y a des idées qui doivent absolument être critiquées, remises en question et moquées, ce sont bien les idées religieuses! C'est seulement de cette façon qu'on peut espérer affaiblir l'emprise que les religions exercent sur des millions de croyants.

Et, malheureusement, dans ce combat, les multiculturalistes et autres apologistes libéraux de la religion deviennent les ennemis du progrès et de la rigueur scientifique et intellectuelle.

En voici un bel exemple rapporté par Alan Levinovitz, pofesseur d'études religieuses à la James Madison University:

Last week newspapers reported that the student union at Britain’s University of Warwick had banned Maryam Namazie, a secular human-rights activist, from speaking on the campus this month.

The reasoning was simple. Namazie, an Iranian-born former Muslim, routinely challenges radical Islamist beliefs and criticizes many aspects of Islam. That was determined to violate the student union’s policy, which forbids external speakers to spread “hatred and intolerance in the community” and says they “must seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups.” Namazie’s critical views, the student union concluded, could infringe upon the “right of Muslim students not to feel intimidated or discriminated against on their university campus.”

When I teach introductory courses in religion, I find my students are also unwilling to offer critical appraisals of religious beliefs, and for the same reason. Like Warwick’s student union, they think refraining from criticism is essential to religious tolerance. After all, if you claim that a religious belief is wrong, aren’t you being intolerant? Better to accept religious relativism than run the risk of bigotry.

That approach is fundamentally misguided. You can think a religious belief is wrong without being intolerant. Tolerance is not synonymous with “believing someone else is right.” It is a virtue that allows you to coexist with people whose way of life is different from your own without throwing a temper tantrum, or a punch.

The potential coexistence of all religions is a seductive fantasy. 

(...) If religious people (and secular people) disagree on basic aspects of history, science, and ethics, how is it possible to maintain the truth of one’s own position while "tolerating" others? Educators like me can respond in two ways. By far the most common response is to teach that there are multiple religious perspectives, all of which are equally valid and deserving of respect. This not only feels good, it also feels legal. Wouldn’t I violate the Establishment Clause, thinks the terrified public-school teacher, if I implied that some religions are superior to others?

The result, however, is disastrous. Suddenly we are in the land of bumper-sticker postmodernism, where truths are perspectival and no one can be objectively wrong. Like the unity of all religions, the validity of all religions is a lovely sentiment (Coexist!), but it is dangerous, disrespectful, and untrue. Dangerous, because it means people will be less likely to fight against injustices and falsehoods that are underwritten by religion. Disrespectful, because authentic respect involves caring when others’ beliefs go wrong, not just letting them believe whatever they want. And untrue, because basic logic tells us that "God condones slavery" and "God forbids slavery" cannot be equally valid claims.

The other possible response, then, is to teach that there are multiple religious perspectives, which are not all equally valid and deserving of respect. If this sounds crazy or extreme, start by thinking in terms of historical claims: There are multiple perspectives on the age of the earth that aren’t equally valid and deserving of respect. Or maybe think about it in terms of ethics: There are multiple perspectives on child abuse that aren’t equally valid and deserving of respect. Now the next step: Acknowledge that religious beliefs include historical and ethical claims. No extremism here, just common sense — the same common sense that allows religious traditions to correct mistaken positions on the age of the earth, or whether God wants black people to be priests.

Some may fear that emphasizing the fallibility of religious beliefs will work against the possibility of interfaith dialogue. In fact, the opposite is true. Intellectually honest people, religious or not, care deeply about truth. They want to make sure their own beliefs are worth holding, and they think others are better off doing the same.

(...) But tolerance doesn’t tell us that just because the belief is religious, there’s no way to pronounce on its truth. It doesn’t forbid us to criticize falsehoods if religion is used to justify those falsehoods. And it doesn’t mean that people who challenge deeply held beliefs represent a threat. That’s complacence, not tolerance, and it’s time to start recognizing the difference.

It’s encouraging to see that Warwick’s student union reversed its decision this week following a public outcry, which included a petition in support of inviting Namazie that was signed by more than 5,000 people. But if students — and teachers — continue to conflate criticism and intolerance, similar issues are certain to arise in the future. Let’s do our best to make sure they don’t.

Et n'allez pas croire que ce sont seulement dans les autres pays que les gens choisissent l'auto-censure pour éviter "d'offusquer" les croyants, comme le démontre ici Mathieu Bock-Côté:

Il y a quelques mois, l’équipe de Laflaque, la rigolote émission d’actualité politique en dessins animés du dimanche soir à Radio-Canada, a pensé ajouter un personnage à son petit monde: celui de Mahomet. C’était après les attentats de Charlie Hebdo.

C’était une idée culottée qui témoignait d’une formidable liberté intellectuelle. Mais c’était une idée si culottée que l’équipe a finalement reculé. Elle a décidé d’aborder la question de l’islamisme en se passant du prophète des musulmans.

(...) Et pourtant, comment ne pas voir, à travers ce renoncement, quelque chose comme une capitulation ne disant pas son nom? La question est simple: devons-nous intérioriser les interdits idéologiques et religieux des fanatiques? Si nous nous y plions, n’est-ce pas une manière de leur reconnaître le droit de faire la loi?
Rien n’est plus précieux que le blasphème, en un sens. Non pas parce qu’il faut heurter en soi les croyances de chacun. Mais parce qu’il oblige chacun à vivre dans une société où personne n’est en droit d’imposer sa vision de l’absolu à son voisin. C’est justement parce qu’une chose est sacrée qu’il faut la caricaturer.
Nous devrons, tôt ou tard, désapprendre à nous soumettre.

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