[OT] Benefit and belief

Ben Finney ben+python at benfinney.id.au
Wed Sep 28 23:05:36 EDT 2011

Devin Jeanpierre <jeanpierreda at gmail.com> writes:

> > Forget money, or even the love of money. The idea that one mustn't
> > criticise another person's beliefs is the root of all evil.
> This was a technical discussion, and calling the bible a joke was not
> necessary at all. It creates a hostile atmosphere.

I disagree. It was not an attack on any person nor group of people. If
we are to be required to avoid jokes not directed at people, then *that*
is an atmosphere hostile to open friendly discussion.

> Can't you pick somewhere else to attack Christianity?

The person who wrote the “bible is a joke” intended it as a flippant
remark. Countless other flippant remarks pass through here all the time,
making jokes at the expense of some idea or other. Christianity will not
be an exception to that.

If you find someone attacking people, I'll join you in ostracising the
attacker. But no, don't attempt to silence jokes that attack an idea.

Off-topic? If we start discussing the content of the ideas being
attacked, yeah, I'd say religion is pretty off-topic.

But the topic of keeping this forum safe for technical discussion
entails that it must be safe for *any* idea to be the butt of a joke, be
it a religious text or the Zen of Python, and that is very much

 \         “We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” |
  `\    —Vroomfondel, _The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy_, Douglas |
_o__)                                                            Adams |
Ben Finney

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