Thursday, July 25, 2013


Nothing can be quite so frustrating, even infuriating, as being accused of "intolerance" by a religious person.  One relatively neutral initial response you can give is: 

"I am tolerant of every belief except one:  The belief that you don't owe me the same courtesy."

If need be, you can then delve into the history of religion and the intolerance that seems to always follow it around.

The fact is that the religious have been extremely intolerant of anyone outside their religion for centuries.  They have been most intolerant of non-believers.  For centuries, the official policy of Christian churches was to exterminate non-believers in the most brutal way possible.  Even now, many of them will go out of their way to hurt, as much as they can, any non-believer they meet.

Thus, a more aggressive response could be:

"For centuries, your church's official policy was to exterminate people like me.  For you to accuse me of intolerance is the moral, historical, and logical equivalent of a Nazi accusing a Jew of intolerance."

That response is a little long, but the first part of it is necessary.  If you simply deliver the second sentence alone, all the believer will hear is that you are comparing his church to the Nazi party.  While this comparison is valid even without pointing out the history, because the Nazis were Christians, it is best to remind the person that there are facts that make the statement true and that it is not simply name calling.

Nevertheless, because of their tendency to take everything personally, you will probably be accused of simply making an ad hominem attack.

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