Musings on the existence of God – and of Richard Dawkins

A few days ago, Walker Morrow had a fun, humorous bit : Is there evidence for the existence of Richard Dawkins?

In it is embeded  this link to a video (scroll down a little) which, in what I am told is a humorous manner, mocks Dawkins’s way of questioning the existence of God to question the existence of Richard Dawkins himself!

The flippant answer would be, of course, that I’ve seen a YouTube video where Thunderf00t interviews Richard Dawkins, and, when I see a video of Thunderf00t interviewing ‘God’, I’ll believe in ‘God’, too!

But, of course, my real answer is a little wordier….and weirder!

I do not know that Richard Dawkins exists!

And, making that realization is essential!

OK – perhaps this is the Aspie in me, or perhaps it is the scientist in me – or, some combination thereof.  But, by the time I was 13 (I grew up behind the Iron Curtain, so I had no access to philosophical or theological writing of any kind – this was just my simple, peasant-brain reasoning), I realized that I could not objectively prove that I myself exist!

My original formulation was very clumsy and I have not really refined the wording much, just shortened it a bit (OK – a lot) :

  1. The only way we learn about/observe/get data from our surroundings is via our senses.
  2. Our senses are demonstrably subjective (I could demonstrate this to myself, as my right eye perceives colours quite differently than my left eye does…but only just  before the onset of a migraine headache.  So, I concluded that our senses necessarily colour (pun intended)  our perceptions, making them definitely ‘not objective’.)
  3. Since the only information reaching ‘us’ about our surroundings is subjective (through the senses), it can be manipulated and we cannot make any objective conclusions based on it…like, say, to assert that any self-awareness we think we perceive is ‘our own’.

OK – so the argument is a bit ‘rough-around-the-edges’, but, you get the gist of it.

Some people think this is pointless prattle –  nothing but what Scott Adams would have called ‘mental masturbation’…

I beg to disagree!

Before a scientists makes any observation, she/he calibrates the instruments to be used.  This is important, because it sets the ‘baseline’ against which any results can be evaluated:  how good were the instruments, the accuracy of any measurements, the error margins, and all that.  If, for example, a thermometer measures temperature to the nearest degree, it will not reliably show variations of one-thousandth of a degree, and so on.

Similarly, if we are aware that all our perceptions are subjective and that we cannot even prove that ‘we’ are the bit we think of as our ‘self’, that we cannot objectively prove anything ‘absolutely’, not even our own existence as we perceive ourselves to be, it ‘calibrates’ our credulousness of what we perceive – so to speak!

Thus, if we are ‘objective’ in our reasoning, we are forced to admit that we  lack the capacity to ‘accept anything as absolute truth’ – or, if you will, as a tenet of faith.   To do so regardless would be irresponsible, to say the least.

Therefore, I ‘do not believe that Richard Dawkins exists’, any more than I ‘believe that I exist’!

It is essential that we understand that this ‘calibration’ does not mean that I can assume any such foolish thing as ‘I do not exist’ or ‘I do not need to behave as if I exist’ – not in the least.  The absence of belief in something does not imply the belief in the non-existence of it!   That is an important distinction – one too often lost on people not trained in logic.

It simply alerts me that everything has an ‘error margin’ and that nothing ought to be accepted ‘absolutely’, without reservations, without an implied error-margin.

Perhaps this is the manifesto of the ever-questioning skeptic….  Still, it prevents me (and many others like me) from being able to just ‘believe’ things, to have ‘religious faith’ – of any kind.

Section 13(1) and Aspergers

OK – this is a topic that people who know me have had to listen to me rant on and on and on….

And, I have tried to write it up – and have at least 18 drafts to prove it…

Because… this is something SOOO IMPORTANT that it deserves the most perfectest write up ever!

Because… this shows an internal inconsistency in the Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Code – the ‘Hate Speech’ bit!

It clearly demonstrates that Section 13(1) is in contravention of itself!!!

That, if I my layman’s understanding of our legal system holds, would render the whole thing illegal.  After all, a law may not contravene itself, may it?

Yesterday, I got a comment on my last post, which said exactly the same thing I had been ranting on and on about.  (The comment, not the post – well, the post, too, but that is implied.)

Actually, I read it out loud to my husband, who thought I was reading my words, so close was the sentiment!

Hi Xanthippa.

Your blog has got me thinking… Perhaps we Aspies particularly resent censorship boards like Canada’s because we are used to “saying it like it is”, speaking the truth (as we see it) bluntly and plainly, and not being stopped by thin-skinned people taking offence. Aspies can’t detect _likely_ offence in advance, and if we played it safe and avoided all _possible_ offence, we’d never say anything!Whereas those who support Canada’s state censorship system are probably neurotypicals who are good at treading their way carefully, taking cues from context. They have picked up, for example, that joking about assassinating President Bush is “brave dissent” while joking about assassinating President Obama is “racist hate speech” that will get you visited by the FBI.

Aspies like to have the rules laid out clearly, neutrally and consistently. They/ we don’t like implications, winks and nods, and “It just is, okay?!” So you get someone like Ezra Levant (almost certainly an Aspie) asking why the Emperor has no clothes, why Canada’s censorship rules are applied differently to Christians and Muslims, and a lot of people regard him with distaste: he’s rude, he’s offensive, he’s loud, he’s rocking the boat, he “just doesn’t get it”.

Perhaps Section 13 could be struck down as discriminating on basis of a disability, do you think?

That is exactly correct!  I’ve been ranting on this for years!

*  * *

Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Code is the ‘hate speech’ section which has, lately, been applied to silence people with unpopular views.  The key bit of the wording is that a person is forbidden from communicating anything which could potentially give offense to someone or a group.  No, not ‘just anyone’ – only people who are members of ‘protected groups’.

In other words, it is illegal, in Canada, to communicate anything that might offend people, based on their sex, race, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, and so on, or stigmatize them, or is likely to increase ‘general hate’ against them.

*  *  *

Now, let us look at  the diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome (an Autism-spectrum disorder):

Aspies For Freedom (an Asperger’s support group) lists, among others:

  • Criterion A. Severe and sustained impairment in social interaction
  • Criterion C. The disturbance must cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

About.com tells us that

“The essential features of Asperger’s Disorder are severe and sustained impairment in social interaction…

“…  The disturbance must cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Dr. Leo Kanner, a psychiatrist at Hopkins and a recognized authority on Asperger, wrote in ‘Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry with Practical Neurology’ about ‘Aspergers’:

It is characterised by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication

I could go on, in a typically Aspie obsessive manner… but, you get the picture.  Aspies (people with Asperger’s Syndrome usually prefer the nomicker ‘Aspies’ – it is less cumbersome) have a neurological disorder, which prevents us from having ‘normal’ social interactions.

We cannot tell when we are boring you.

We cannot tell when what we are saying is offensive to you.

We cannot tell if people are so fed up with us, they are about to loose their patience and beat us to a bloody pulp, because we have just said something they consider ‘insensitive’ or ‘offensive’.

We think the rest of the world ought to get over themselves and their stupid emotionalism and its burdensome public display and grow up!  (And get some logic, while they’re at it.)

We also lack the ability to ‘believe’.

Oh, we can accept rules – and love to adhere to them scrupulously.  So, Aspies CAN follow religions.  We just can’t believe in them.

We can take some God(s)’s existence ‘as given’ or ‘pre-defined parameter’ – but not as an ‘article of faith’ to be ‘believed’.  There IS a difference.

Despite what some clinicians think, we CAN accept ‘alternate realities’ (make-believe) – as long as it is presented as a concept (not ‘truth’ – but a ‘different game’) and is internally self-consistent.  That  is why we love Spock (the first ‘real’ Aspie character on TV who was not a villain – at least, not intended to be perceived as a villain, even though his appearance followed an ‘evil-man’ archetype) and why we CAN accept alternate reality rules.

But we recognize them to be ‘non-real’.  And – naturally – we say so.  Especially when somebody is wrong and thinks it is ‘real’.

It is our responsibility to educate them!  To do any less would be insulting to them…

We are especially good at pointing out internal inconsistencies – within belief systems, ‘holy’ books (scriptures), the behaviour of clerics vs. the tenets of their faith and all kinds of things like that.  Good and persistent!

And THAT is why so many Aspies earn the wrath of religious people….. because we will never understand why it is OK to correct someone’s misconceptions regarding physic or mathematics, but not regarding bronze-age myths and demonstrable reality.

Actually – any age myths…

With our lack of social skills and inability to ‘take things on faith’ – both conditions are documented as being biologically based and not something we can just change because we want to – we are BOUND to offend a lot of people. Or, so I am told.  Especially with all that religious nonsense!  And I mean NON-SENSE!!!  As defined…

(Is this a good demonstration?  I hope so… I was trying to convey the understanding of our internal thought processes….)

I suppose it would be a fair parallel to describe Aspies as ‘offensiveness-deaf‘!  And, this disability is a well documented, recognized medical condition.

*  *  *

Ah – but our constitution states that no person shall be discriminated against on the grounds of a medical disability!

Would it be legal to pass a law that penalizes people for not standing when the National Anthem is played – even if they were deaf and did not hear it?  Or of they were a paraplegic or otherwise disabled and unable to stand?

Would passing such laws, which punish people because they have a disability, be tolerated if that disability were anything other than Asperger’s Syndrome?

NO!  IT WOULD NOT!

We would not tolerate such laws!  And, our constitution specifically forbids discrimination on these grounds!

Yet, Section 13(1) is a blatant and shameful discrimination against people who have a medical disability which prevents us from knowing when we are likely to ‘give offense’!!!

*  *  *

OK – this is where I tie it all together….bear with me, please, I’m almost there.

1.  Section 13(1) makes it illegal to communicate anything which ‘is likely to offend’ or stigmatize a group or individuals (on ‘protected grounds’), or expose someone to hate.

2.  One such ‘protected ground’ is ‘medical disability’.

3.  Asperger’s syndrome is a medical disability, whose defining characteristic is an inability to successfully socially interact with others:  in other words, rude and offensive behaviour is an invountary symptom (and even a diagnostic criterion) of this medical condition.  As such, Aspies cannot tell if they are ‘likely to offend’, just as deaf people cannot hear and react to sounds, or just like people cannot significantly change the amount of pigment in their skin!  By just existing, we are ‘likely to give offense’!

4.  Therefore, Section 13(1) makes it a criminal offense to live with this specific medical disability!

5.  By criminalizing our very existence, Section 13(1) seriously stigmatizes Aspies, simply because of how we were born! It is very likely that we, as an identifiable and protected group, will be stigmatized and we are likely to be exposed to hate, as a direct result of the existence of Section 13(1).

6.   However, Section 13(1) forbids anyone or anything to stigmatize a group on protected grounds, or expose anyone to hate – and having Asperger’s IS a ‘protected ground’!

7.  That is an internal inconsistency.

8.  Therefore, Section 13(1) is in contravention of itself.

Q.E.D.

    ‘Communion scandal’ improves Harper’s image

    Perhaps this is obvious to everyone, perhaps it has been written about and I have missed it…

    Did the ‘Communion scandal‘ actually improved Prime Minister Harper‘s image?  Is that, at least partially, why the polls are saying his popularity is up by 7 points (as per Angus Reid poll, reported on CFRA today)?

    Let me explain my reasoning…

    Steven Harper is a lot of things:  an awesome economist (and, in these turbulent times, most of us prefer to have an economist rather than a lawyer or an academic without any experience outside the College campus.).  That is a big plus for Mr. Harper.

    But, his political opponents have always successfully exploited the fact that, for ever, Steven Harper will be associated (in the minds of most urban Canadians, especially those in Ontario and Quebec) with the ‘Evangelical’ taint his Reform Party past brings.  Rightly or wrongly, the Reform Party could not shake the kind of ‘Sarah Palin-type- thingy’ (please excuse the technical jargon…):  right on so many things, but, kind of scary when it comes to ‘faith issues’….

    In some places, politicians are ‘expected’ to be ‘religious’:  it ‘proves’ to the ‘little people’ that they are ‘humble’ and ‘pious’….  This is still true of ‘US conservatives’ – at least, this is more true of them than any other Western ‘group’.

    Why these ought to be good qualities in a political leader, I don’t know!

    As a matter of fact, I seriously question whether people who are willing to put religious faith above facts and reason – and, especially above the will of voters – ought to be in any positions of power whatsoever.  After all, I would like the laws governing my country to be reasonable – not faith based!

    Here, it is important to note that this ‘faith’ could be religious or ideological – it does not make an iota of difference in the practical impact of ‘faith-based’ laws on our society!

    Though Canadians are very poor in recognizing ‘ideological faith, we are very sensitive to ‘religious faith’. Therefore, any suggestions that a politician might be so religious as to obey the tenets of his religion over the will of his constituents when drafting laws and policies harms that politician.  It makes it very unlikely that he/she would get a majority, because the large urban areas will not take what they perceive as that big a risk.

    And, more and more Canadians are aware of just how many religious leaders abuse their power.  This is not specific to any one faith – one could easily find examples of abuse from just about every religious sect.  Rather, more and more people suspect that the fault lies in allowing any man or woman to exercise power over another, using spirituality as the ultimate weapon:  obey, submit, behave this way and believe this dogma – or you will suffer eternal torture…

    That is why most organized religions in Canada are loosing members:  dogmatization of spirituality is becoming more and more unacceptable to urbanized, mainstream Canadians!  And that includes Canadians of all political bends…

    When the Roman Catholic Church said that priests ought to deny ‘Communion’ to any politician who does not vote to ban abortion, there was a serious backlash against the Roman Catholic Church.  This was widely understood to be ‘spiritual blackmail’ of the politician:  threatening him/her with eternal damnation of his’her soul UNLESS he/she placed the Papist dogma above the will of their constituents!

    The ‘little ‘l’ liberal’ Canadians are loath of any erosion in the ‘secularity’ of our laws: they will never support a politician whom they suspect of having a religious agenda!

    Perhaps not surprisingly, there are more and more ‘non-religious’ ‘little ‘c’ conservatives.  People who do support many core conservative values, but who are very uncomfortable with the ‘religious’ component of today’s Conservative movement.  Very, very, very uncomfortable!

    Just remember John Tory!

    Steven Harper – with all his good and bad points – had a problem shaking the ‘religious’ image of the old Reform Party.  And his political opponents exploited it very, very skilfully.

    Now, to this ‘Communion scandal’:

    Some Roman Catholic Cleric attacked Steven Harper for his conduct during a Catholic funeral mass which Steven Harper attended.  It would appear that the priest walked up to the people sitting in on the benches in the church.  Steven Harper offered him a hand for a handshake – that is what politicians do, they shake hands as a symbol of greeting or acceptance or a number of other things.

    The priest, instead of shaking the offered hand, stuck a communion wafer in it.

    Now, the PM was ‘damned if he did/damned if he did not’ do just about anything.

    Had he rejected the wafer and tried to give it back to the priest, he would be committing a grave offense:  he would be ‘rejecting Jesus himself’!

    Had he tried to minimize damage by pocketing the damned thing and giving it back to the priest later, he would create horrible offense:  one does not ‘stick Jesus in a pocket’!

    And, had he committed ritual cannibalism and eaten the ‘literal flesh of Christ’ – as Roman Catholics believe they are doing when they consume a Communion Wafer – he would be giving great offense because non-Roman Catholic Christians are not allowed the salvation which eating the flesh of a dead guy is supposed to bring, according to the RC dogma.

    The PM took the latest option.  And, was immediately attacked for not being a fine young cannibal!  A bunch of RC clerics attacked him, for ‘offending their faith’ – while not saying a peep about the latest child sex-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church became public that day!

    Steven Harper’s political opponents – seeing an opening to attack – made the most of the story.  The one about the PM accepting a communion wafer – not the one about more RC priest pedophiles.  They ‘shouted it from the rooftops’!  They got it into all kinds of papers, so no Canadian could remain unaware that Steven Harper is insensitive to religion!

    Wait a minute!

    Steven Harper was trying to shake the ‘he’s too easily influenced by religion’ image – especially among the urban folk.  And now, his opponents are announcing to everyone that Steven Harper is not religious enough???

    What an effective way to allay those fears of people who liked him, but worried he might be a religious freak!  He’s just a normal guy, after all!

    No wonder that Steven Harper’s popularity went up!

    Pat Condell: ‘Children of a Stupid God’

    Here is Pat Condell’s latest video, ‘Children of a Stupid God’.  Whatever your belief-system (or lack thereof), he does bring up an intersting perspective…and a few good points for thought:

    Pat Condell: ‘Free speech is sacred’

    Is it time to abolish the UN?

    This year, the UN plans to make its ‘Blasphemy Resolution’ BINDING on ALL ITS MEMBER STATES!!!!!!!!!

    When the League of Nations became irrelevant, it was abolished.

    For those of you cursed with a ‘recent’ North American education, here is a very brief explanation:

    Following ‘The Great War’ (WWI), people decided that wars were a bad thing that should – and could – be prevented.  So, they set up this organization whose purpose was to do exactly that by providing a supranational governance structure and a forum for a negotiated conflict resolution.  They called it the League of Nations.

    Promptly, the new ‘world government’ set about defining The Rights of Man, and other unarguably worthy things.  Collectivists of the world unite, and all that…

    Yet, the League of Nations was singularly bad at actually accomplishing any of the things it had claimed it wanted to do.  For example, when the LoN tried to give a stern talking to the likes of Mussolini and Hitler, Mussolini told them that ‘human rights’ don’t apply to ‘Ethiopians’ because they are ‘not fully human’ (!) and Hitler told them they had no right to interfere in Germany’s internal policies (you know, the Holocaust).

    It was at roughly this point in time that people realized that the League of Nations was not actually doing what it thought it was doing, and pulled the plug on it.

    Following WWII, people decided that wars were a bad thing that should – and could – be prevented.  So, they set up this organization whose purpose was to do exactly that by providing a supranational governance structure and a forum for a negotiated conflict resolution.  They called it the United Nations.

    Promptly, the new ‘world government’ set about making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other unarguably worthy things.  Collectivists of the world unite, and all that…

    Sound familiar?

    Except that, the UN was LoN.2:  an upgraded release, with much more functionality and much wider reaching ambitions.

    Now, the UN does not only want to ‘prevent war’ by providing a supranational governance structure, or to resolve international conflicts peacefully.  Now, it had taken upon itself the role of a ‘World Busybody’:  from the environment to our internal laws, nothing is outside of the UN’s scope of interest.

    Don’t believe me just how intrusive the UN plans to be into the economic and social development of sovereign states?  Read it yourself – and you WILL weep!

    Look at something as simple as the ages-old concept:  freedom of the seas!

    Contrary to some modern claims that this is a new idea, the concept that the seas were not anyone’s sovereign property and that all have the right to travel them freely was a concept that has been around since (at least) the time of Cicero.  Yet, the UN has – criminally, in my never-humble-opinion – chosen to abort the ‘Freedom of the Seas’ and replace it with ‘Law of the Seas’!

    Now, in this post, I don’t intend to delve too deeply into the L.O.S.T.:  this would take at least 1000 words, and most of them expletive.  Let it suffice to point out that under this ‘law’, the UN would have to protect all the seas:  so, anything that might affect them would be under their jurisdiction – including all the watersheds!  Want to build a city?  Is it in a watershed that drains to some sea somewhere?  Then the UN has the right to say when and how you can do it:  it has to protect the waters, you see.

    Yes:  L.O.S.T. gives the UN the power over all the water on Earth!!!  And, the right – nay, the DUTY – to regulate EVERYTHING which might ‘affect water’.

    Am I exaggerating?  Check it out.  Please!  I would very much like to be wrong on this one.  I may be presenting the extreme to which the letter of this ‘convention’ may be applied – I will grant this easily.  Yet, when have humans who want power have ‘established’ something, history shows us that they WILL push things ALL THE WAY to the extremes.  Therefore, it is only prudent that we examine what COULD be permitted under a law – because, eventually, it WILL be.

    You see, replacing ‘Freedom’ with ‘Law’ is something the UN loves to do.  And, gaining more and more power over its member nations – being more and more intrusive in their internal policies – well, that is part of the observable pattern of the UN behaviour.

    Please, consider this latest little ‘drop in the bucket’.

    We are all aware that for several years in a row, the UN has submitted to pressures from ‘religious groups’ and has declared that the human right to freedom of speech MUST be limited in order to protect religious sensibilities.  Most of us refer to this as ‘The Blasphemy Law’.

    What this means – in practice – is the re-criminalization of blasphemy against any religion in general, and Islam in particular.

    By – yet again submitting – the UN has turned the clock of our civilization to back before the time of the Renaissance!!!

    IT GETS WORSE!!!

    This year, the UN plans to make its ‘Blasphemy Resolution’ BINDING on ALL ITS MEMBER STATES!!!!!!!!!

    HOW DARE THEY!!!

    Frankly, I don’t care WHICH religion:  I WILL BLASPHEME THEM ALL!!!

    I suppose I am an ‘equalist’ when it comes to BLASPHEMY!

    Why?

    Because while I respect each person’s individual spirituality, I regard EACH and EVERY religion to be a manipulation of this very human spiritual dimension, sub-verted into the hands of powerhungry individuals in order to coerce obedience from the rest of us.

    If THIS is what the UN wants to impose, I say it is time to abolish it!

    What do YOU say?

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    Religion (definition): part 1

    Another term which is important to define when talking about The Big Picture is ‘Religion’.

    This is another one of those words that everybody thinks has a universal definition – but not all these ‘universal definitions’ are congruent…. and some of the differences between the various descriptions are, well, rather substantial.  (Yes, this does make our constitution, which forbids discrimination on religious grounds, rather laughable, as in the absence defining what is meant by ‘religious grounds’, this phrase is worse than meaningles…. it is open to abuse!  Please, don’t get me started on that topic!!!)

    Just look at the how (not the what) of the way different people practice religion. 

    To some, religion is little more than some surreal principles.  They believe in some undefinible, intangable divine principles that form the universal subconsciousness or, if you prefer, which give the Universe a consciousness of her own.  Or, they call it Mother Nature, or some ‘laws of nature’ which have no perceivable form (personification-able, that is).  To these people, spirituality is important, but religiosity – the rituals associated with these beliefs – may be largely irrelevant.

    At the other extreme, there are people for whom adherence to the religious customs and rituals is a much more integral part of their religion than any form of actual belief or even abstract concept of the divine.  We see this in many highly ritualistic religions which dictate daily routines and behaviours onto its practitioners.  I have known Anglicans, Catholics, Jews and Hindus who all practice the rituals of their religion because it supports their perception of their self-identity – or serves and supports others in their community – yet who do not subscribe to the doctorines of their religious dogma. 

    Perhaps I should explain what I mean by this:  they are able to abstract moral lessons from their religious teachings and see value (either to their personal growth or things helpful or important to others within their community) in adhering to the religious practices, even though they reject the dogmatic or supernatural aspects of their religions.  (I regard this with great respect – it is the opposite of some peoples’ self-righteous pretense at being religious while missing the ‘greater message’!  That is a subject of its own…)

    Yet others both have faith in the dogma of a religion, and adhere to its daily rituals.  The spectrum is about as varied as humanity itself…

    Many people in The West think that religion is something which deals with questions regarding the meaning/purpose of life, death, afterlife, God, etc.  And, some religions do that.  However, most religions are not this narrowly limited.  So, what exactly defines religion?  What is common to all the religions ‘out there’?

    Well, it depends on whom you ask… and what background they are approaching the subject of ‘religion’ from.

    The psychoanalyst (NOT to me mistaken with ‘psycho analyst’) Carl G.Jung defines religion as:

    Religion appears to me to be a peculiar attitude of the mind which could be formulated in accordance with the original use of the word religio, which means a careful consideration and observation of certain dynamic factors that are conceived as “powers”: spirits, demons, gods, laws, ideas, ideals, or whatever name man has given to such factors in his world as he has found powerful, dangerous, or helpful enough to be taken into careful consideration, or grand, beautiful, and meaningful enough to be devoutly worshiped and loved.

    (Emphasis added by me…  I do have to admit that I copied this definition out in calligraphy and stuck it to the inside of my locker door when I was in high-school – yeah, I know, pathetic!)

    So, accortding to Jung, religion is a peculiar attitude of the mind

    The reason I like this definition is because in a society which allows fredom of thought, freedom of religion is automatic:  you are free to believe – fully, partially or not at all – anything you wish.  Here, freedom of religion becomes a sub-set of freedom of thought and does not require special treatment, privileges or accommodations under the law.

    That, in my never-humble-opinion, is very important.  After all, no idea or belief should be accorded greater or lesser protection from persecution, regardless of its nature!  Plus, most oppressors (or would-be oppressors….knowingly or condescendingly) are notorious for defining ‘religious grounds’ in a way that allows them to oppress those whose ideas (religious or otherwise) they do not like! 

    Example:  when my older son neared the end of grade 8 and different high-schools were lobbying us to register him to attend them, I visited one of the most highly regarded and very coveted high-schools in Ottawa.  That is when I got a chance to look around the school’s library – and it did indeed contain an impressive selection of books!  When I came to the ‘Religion’ section, there were many, many books on Christianity and Christian philosophy.  Truly, it contained an exhaustive collection of books on all the sects of non-Arian forms of Christianity.  Yet, when I looked for the Torah, the Koran, the Vedas, Tao Te Ching and other texts widely considered ‘religious’, they could not be found….until one came to the ‘Mythology’ section of the library….  Needless to say, we chose to send our son elsewhere.

    Obviously, to this particular school’s librarian, only non-Arian forms of Christianity qualified as ‘religion’Everything else was ‘Mythology’, and would not deserve protection under Canadian constitution which bans ‘discrimination on the basis of religion’ – but does not protect against ‘discrimination of the basis of mythology’….  I’m sorry about the circuitous description, but, I do hope I explained by point clearly:

    According to this librarian, only non-Arian forms of Christianity qualified as ‘religion’ and therefore, freedom of religion would only extend to people who subscribed to this narrow group of religious sects.

    I’m afraid I prefer Jung’s definition or ‘religion’ to this librarian’s!
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