Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

This exchange between myself, two of my friends, my sister-in-law, and her husband, happened on my Facebook a few weeks ago. Submitted as-is with only names changed to protect my anonymity.

Còmhradh thinks that if we’re going to demand that Muslims can’t build a shrine in Manhattan (never mind the one that’s already been there for 40 years), then we should demand that there be no Lutheran churches in Jersey City because of the Black Tom incident in World War I that killed 7 Americans, because Wilhelm II was a Luth…eran, and therefore all Lutherans are enemies of America, right?

Friend 1 – On the other hand, America’s been building ‘Ground Zero’ within a couple blocks of mosques all over Iraq and Afghanistan for years now.

BiL – It’s not the fact that they are building it in Manhattan itself. It’s the fact they are building it practically right on ‘Ground Zero’. It’s not about politcs or who is wrong and right with this one. It’s about the 3000 people who died there by Muslim extremist. And being a firemen I wouldn’t want it there to begin with. It’s a slap in the face and not to mention it will cause TONS of issues in the long run that will make it a very bad idea. Our ignorant moron Governor even offered free state land for them to build it on but they won’t do it (the only good thing hes done.) So… yeah… Its a BAD idea and its a slap in the face… Take it down the block away from ‘Ground Zero’

Còmhradh – @BiL – so, you’d feel that strongly if there was a proposal to build a church right a few blocks from Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta or near the site of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City?

Còmhradh – @Friend 1 – but that’s their fault for living in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friend 1 – ‎”Yeah, I have a delivery here for Iraq. Can Iraq sign for it? It’s a large box of freedom. …Oh, I’m sorry, I meant explosions. The freedom’s on back order.”

SiL – they just HAVE to build near the world trade center? no sense of remorse for these people that died and those that died to save our those in need. no wonder most of america is against….per CNN

SiL – babbling facts does nothing to justify why they are doing it….thats just senseless facts

Còmhradh – So, the 62 Muslim victims of 9/11 don’t count? Were they also responsible for the attacks simply because they were Muslim? Does that mean every Christian is responsible for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996?

BiL – I honestly don’t care what most of America is against. Most of America has been against some crazy shit in the past, like women’s suffrage, alcohol, interracial marriage, Catholics…

SiL – neither do i….but thank god most of america has their head on right about it

Friend 1 – There just isn’t enough manufactured controversy out there. It’s a real shame America’s so focused on educating its young people, caring for its veterans and elderly, keeping the work force employed and providing medical care for its citizens. We really need more mosque arguments and video game outrage, because wouldn’t it be terrifying if this privileged, rich, powerful and obnoxiously vocal country actually did something beneficial and useful for its citizens for a change?

Còmhradh – I don’t think anyone’s actually addressing my point here – If we’re going to rage about a “mosque” near Ground Zero, why should we not get up in arms about churches near sites of Christian-based terrorism?

Friend 2 stuff that’s also “right on top of ground zero”

BiL – You want to know why? Because this is the United States of America. You are American before anything else and the freedom you have is what the Muslim Extremist are trying to take away. Ground Zero is a American spot where we lost over 3000 people in an attack that was senseless. Unless of course you agree with that. And putting the Mosque right on top of that heartbreaking spot is ARROGANT and full of IGNORANCE.

BiL – @Friend 2 that stuff was there this is ‘aftermath’ of them building this… ITS A INSULT and as a New Yorker and a Fireman its PATHETIC and I don’t give a shit who I offend with this but if you are for it…. you… are Pathetic

Friend 2 i’m sorry. Iv’e actually read and believe in the constitution and the bill of rights.

Còmhradh@BiL – Yes, and in the United States of America, we have the freedom to place any manner of religious shrine on private property we own, regardless of what other people think. Unless of course you don’t agree that we should have freedom of religion.

BiL – What is arrogant and full of ignorance is this perpetuation that this is a mosque (it is not), lumping all Muslims in this country together with the extremists who attacked us (they are not), and thinking that it’s OK to strip certain groups of people of fundamental rights simply because you don’t like them (it’s not).

Còmhradh@BiL – calm down, sparky. We’re having a rational discussion here.

Friend 2 – way to make my point there sparky.

BiL – First. Fuck Muslims. I don’t give a shit about them after what happened. Second. Believe it or not, this is not about you, this is about the people who died and their families. Its a slap in the face and the Muslim community is trying to make a point……..

Còmhradh – @BiL – if you can’t behave, you don’t get to chime in.

BiL – I am not calm about this @Còmhradh. Its full of liberal idiocy and its a insult to me. So I won’t stop being pissed about this until the subject is closed and the Mosque is elsewhere.

Friend 2 – hey @BiL, it’s not about you. its about freedom and what it means to defend freedom. _THIS_ is what it means to defend freedom. not blowing up some third world country.

BiL – How about not calling me Sparky @Friend 2 since you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. And @Còmhradh…. Don’t post something ridiculous if you don’t want comments and thoughts.”

Còmhradh – I want comments and thoughts, not racist bigotry. We were having a nice discussion before you jumped in and started throwing elbows.

Friend 2 – oh, and freedom and non government interference with private property and religion is ridiculous now is it? Wow. just wow. Do I get to use the “America love it or leave it” line yet?

BiL – The war is needed and I stand by that. Bush did the right thing. All the liberals can’t eat a bull of crap. And the Mosque don’t belong where it is going… Period.

Còmhradh – @BiL – what exactly has either war accomplished?
We’ve been in Afghanistan for almost 9 years and have succeeded only in killing civilians and further destabilizing a nuclear-armed Pakistan.
We’ve been in Iraq for 6 1/2 years and only succeeded in making Iran the dominant power in the region.
If that’s your definition of “necessary,” then it is absolutely necessary that I’m given a giant robot to stomp around downtown Sheboygan.

BiL – And your saying the Muslims who killed 3000 people in NYC arnt racist? Yes they are. Prove to me they arnt. This is America and a Mosque don’t belong on hollowed ground. Move it away from the spot and make people happy

Friend 2 – Liberals and Liberty have the same root. sorry don’t believe in living in an authoritarian theocracy. going into afganistan was the rightmove, the facts have been quite clear about who’s been eating the bull for Iraq.

Còmhradh – @BiL – The Muslims who killed 3015 people on 9/11 are dead. They also killed (besides themselves) 62 Muslims. Are you spitting in the faces of their relatives by calling them racists for getting themselves killed?

BiL – My definintition of Necessary is I support what Bush did. I support being in war. I support our troops. And I support defending this homeland.

Friend 2 – defending the homeland by making us piles more enemies? how about defending the homeland by not dismantling it from the inside out?

Còmhradh – @BiL – that doesn’t really answer the question. You support the war, which has only served to create dead troops, but you support the troops. These two things are completely contradictory.
I support the troops by opposing continually useless wars that only get them killed and create more enemies for us, which will only ensure that even more troops get killed.

Friend 2 – Re muslems: so do lots of christians and jews.

BiL – The Muslim extremist are racist and most Muslims have this idea that they are the higher power and they are living the right life. All thought that is there opinion look what it did on 9/11. All i am saying is move the Mosque away from Ground Zero. And @Còmhradh… 62 Muslims killed is nothing compared to over 2,500 that weren’t Muslims.

Còmhradh – ‎@BiL – so… Muslims lives aren’t as important as non-Muslim lives?
“The American extremists are racist and most Americans have this idea that they are the higher power and are living the right life.

BiL – LOL @Friend 2…. dismantling it? Wow…. You are obviously blind to what is really going on.

Friend 2 – I don’t know @BiL, revoking personal and religious freedoms for he sake of mob rule seems pretty contradictory to what this country’s about.

CòmhradhBiL – @Friend 2 isn’t the one advocating a repeal of the First Amendment here.

BiL – I support the troops because its the right thing to do. They are over there fighting for our freedom. If you don’t support them how would that make them feel? Protesting is not a good thing for them to see.

CòmhradhBiL – America hasn’t fought a war for American freedoms since 1865. The troops are over there fighting for our economic interests. They’re not even fighting for *someone else’s* freedoms.

Supporting troops is in no way the same as supporting the insane mission they’ve been tasked with.

BiL – LOL OK… enough…. seriously…. You guys have no argument. You believe in OBAMA when he is the worst President in US HISTORY! And will be a 1 term guy. But you follow him EVEN THOUGH HE IS TRYING TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY A SOCIALIST SOCIETY! YOU ARE RIDICULOUS! —-MOVE THE MOSQUE—- ITS A INSULT

Friend 2 – wow, way to bring up random unrelated topics. we have an argument obviously or you wouldn’t be backing out.

Friend 1 – Re: the war: “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.” – Sun-Tzu
Re: the mosque: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, demanding that the free exercise of a religion be impeded by any sort of decree is unconstitutional. PERIOD.

BiL – Backing out? Not going anywhere!

Còmhradh@BiL – a) I don’t “believe” in Obama, b) You need to look at James Buchanan and Warren G. Harding before you start judging Obama, c) you have no idea what socialism is, and everything I’ve ever heard you say about socialism just sounds like a good idea that Obama has consistently *not* done. This is America. You don’t have the right to not be insulted. I find the fact that there are people who would surrender our rights at the drop of a hat to be an insult, but I’ve still got to live here.

Friend 2 – well then bring some substance other than hurt feelings and baseless opinions.

Friend 2 – clearly you don’t because there’s nothing even remotely socialist going on in the obama administration.

Friend 1 – @BiL – You’re not going anywhere? Or I’m not going anywhere? The lack of subject in that sentence fragment has me confused. Could you please try to make your thoughts more coherent and well-formatted? The last time I heard rhetoric this vocal and broken it was coming from a podium in Nuremberg in the early 1940s.

BiL – LOL @Còmhradh… you are so blind…. And I do know what Socialism is

CòmhradhBiL – Please, describe socialism, and how letting tax cuts expire while expanding programs implemented by Republican presidents is in any way akin to it.

BiL – Hurt feelings? LOL @Friend 2 you are pathetic and obviously don’t know how to read. Everything I am saying has substance and NOT everyone agrees with you believe it or not. And it’s funny how over 60% of America is for what I am saying.

Friend 2– wind and crying isn’t substance and that all you can come back with is “pathetic” tells me more about your argument than it says about mine. sparky.

BiL – Ok… be a bitch… or are lesbians not Bitches? Not sure how this works. And @Friend 1…. Big words don’t make you “right”… And @Còmhradh… Socialism………. look at Obama’s presidency and thats my definitions/ . If you don’t like my views/Thoughts/views… DONT RESPOND….

Còmhradh – @BiL – we really can’t parse out what you’re saying other than “I hate Muslims and Obama,” and I need to see the polling that suggests that 60% of America agrees with that.
Interestingly, 62% of Americans think we should get out of Afghanistan, so I guess you’re not with the majority there.

Còmhradh – @BiL – We’ll take that as an admission that you’ve got nothing left to say, have admitted defeat, and want to no longer participate in this or any further discussions. Thanks for stopping by.

And then my brother-in-law and I unfriended each other, my sister-in-law unfriended me (because I was being “hypocritical,” which I still don’t understand), my brother-in-law unfriended Mrs. Còmhradh, and Mrs. Còmhradh’s sister didn’t speak to her for a week.



Posted: 7 September 2010 in civil rights, human rights, religion

Facebook is a hell of a drug. There are four categories of people I am connected with on Facebook:

1) People that I see on a regular basis that I often communicate with,
2) People that I don’t see on a regular basis that I often communicate with,
3) People that I know casually that I rarely communicate with,
4) People that I was friends with/worked with ages ago that I almost never communicate with.

(Interestingly, even though I have a relatively small extended family, I can place a family member into each of these categories.)

Recently, on my Facebook updates feed, there have been a number of people in the bottom three categories who have posted updates like “Let’s see how many true Christians are on FB! Press Like if Jesus is your Savior!!” and “JESUS IS LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you know this is true press like. :)” and so forth. For the record, those are copied exactly. If you don’t capitalize “Jesus is Lord” and follow it with 27 exclamation points, it’s apparently not official.

This sort of thing rankles me for a few reasons. Firstly, because it’s the most inane sort of religious jingoism. “Look at how much I love my deity! I’m mangling my native tongue and speaking like a twelve-year-old about him!” Secondly, it gets under my skin because this is acceptable behavior, whereas if I were to post “THERE IS NO GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you know this is true press like. :),” sparks would fly (see next post for an example of this). Sparks would fly, because two of the people posting this dreck are my aunt and my mother. Like I said, Facebook is a hell of a drug.

So, last night, I got fed up with the recent splattering of OMGJEBUS on my Facebook updates, and decided to nettle back. Of course, I did it on the sly – I changed my religious views to Agnostic Atheist and “liked” Agnostic Atheism. So far the fur hasn’t begun flying, but I can imagine that someone is going to take notice. Chances are, my sister is going to tell me all about how my mother went on and on about the horrible thing I said on Facebook (again).

What’s the difference between 20 Warren Street and 51 Park Place in Manhattan?

One of them has a masjid, an Islamic house of prayer.

The other has plans for a cultural center that would also contain a masjid.

Both of them are within 3 blocks of “Ground Zero.” The first one, at 20 Warren Street, has actually been there since before the World Trade Center was built.

A masjid is not technically a mosque. To give a little terminology that Christians can understand, it’s more a chapel than a church, or, to be more accurate, more a chapel than a cathedral. It is a small place of worship. A mosque is a very large place of worship.

The point here is that no one has plans to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center, and, in fact, there’s already a house of worship there, so all the mouth-frothing just makes the frothers look like larger idiots than they already do. Of course, there are plenty of churches there.

So, Harry Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley says “The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Sen. Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else.”

Shorter Harry Reid: “The Constitution’s for us Christians, fuck the rest of you.” The real kicker is that Reid is himself a Mormon, and should know a thing or two about having the shit kicked out of you just because you’re not swinging with the majority. But now that he’s the Majority Leader, well… shit flows downhill, eh Senator?

This anti-mosque outrage is pure bigotry, and anyone who thinks that it isn’t is either a liar or a moron. I can straight-up guarantee that the outcry surrounding a church being built within three blocks of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta would be non-existent, even though that was a blatant act of Christian extremism.

But hey, the majority doesn’t need to move. Rights are fine unless someone you don’t like tries to exercise them.

You have no power over me.

Posted: 2 August 2010 in religion

I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.
-Jareth, Labyrinth

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there is, in fact, a single non-specific deity (or discrete group that is worshiped as a singular body, like a pantheon or trinity or something).  There are a few ways that this deity could manifest, and I’d like to take a moment to explore their worthiness to receive worship.

First, a few definitions, just to make sure we’re all on the same page:

Omniscient – All-knowing.  An omniscient deity has infinite knowledge, and can see every part of the universe, even what you do in the shower.  May or may not take perverse pleasure in this.

Omnipotent – All-powerful.  An omnipotent deity has infinite power to effect every aspect of the universe.  From the specific gravity of ice to the lottery numbers for next Tuesday to the fate of your hypothetical soul once your body dies, the Omnipotent has absolute power.

Omnibenevolent – All-good, all the time.  An omnibenevolent deity doesn’t have a mean metaphysical bone in its theoretical cosmic body.  It is incapable of evil on any level.  It is, essentially, an infinite supply of your favorite food that you can eat for eternity and never get fat from.

Let’s look at the permutations and their worship-worthiness.

1) The Omnicient:  A god who knows everything but is relatively powerless or inclined to act?  Sounds like the NSA to me.  Unworthy.

2) The Omnipotent: A god who can control every aspect of the universe, but doesn’t actually know every last detail of what it can control?  Sounds like Congress! Unworthy!

3) The Omnibenevolent: Basic really nice guy.  Sure, it’s the kindest, most giving person you know, but is it really worth total subjugation of your will?  Not really.

So, single-aspect deities are pretty much a bust.  Time to mix and match!

4) The Omniscient Omnipotent:  All-knowing and all-powerful!  A deadly combination, at best.  Without the omnibenevolence, there’s no telling how psychotic this deity could be.  Furthermore, what’s the point in actually worshiping this deity?  At best, you can hope to ward it off so that it doesn’t turn its all-seeing eye your way.  This is the very model of the Christian deity, and look how that turns out? A sociopathic nightmare that’s just as likely to reward you for eternity for reciting a few magic words as it is to punish you for eternity for not saying those words right.
Definitely unworthy of worship.  Fear, maybe, but not worship.

5) The Omnipotent Omnibenevolent: It’s all-powerful and all-good.  Unfortunately, it’s not all-knowing, so it can’t put that eternal power to eternally good use.  This is actually the most pathetic deity out there, because “worship” accorded to it becomes a simple act of calling it forth to make your life easy.  It is the replicator from Star Trek.  “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot” may as well be its holy mantra.  Actual worship of this deity is nothing more than a mechanical interchange.  It’s not actually worship.

6) The Omnibenevolent Omniscient: All-knowing and eternally good?  Well, that sounds like a great big ball of fun, but what has it done for me lately except be sad when suffering abounds?  Without that omnipotence, this deity is just a metaphysical lump,  not worthy of anything even close to worship.

OK, none of those worked out too well, either.  All three seemed to be crippled by the one thing they lacked.  So, let’s put them all together:

7) The Omniscient Omnipotent Omnibenevolent: The big prize.  Infinitely knowledgeable, Infinitely powerful, eternally good. Just one little problem:  Suffering.  The existence of the Trifecta is completely disproved by the existence of suffering in the universe.  If there was such a deity, there would be none.  But more to the point, such a deity wouldn’t require worship, and if it did, there wouldn’t be any point.  It would simply know whether or not you were worshiping (and doing it correctly), and would change you to make sure you were if you weren’t, because not doing it right could lead to suffering.  So, you wouldn’t have any control over your worship, which would actually make it slavery.  You would have no choice in your participation in it, and therefore, it’s not actually worship.  The question of this deity’s worthiness is moot – it cannot not be worshiped.

So, there you have it.   Either there’s no possible way for them to exist, or they’re not worth worshiping in the first place.  So what’s the point?

I saw a cluster of Tea Party protesters outside the local mall today, and as I drove by, I made a point of laughing hysterically at them, because really, when you get right down to it, they’re hilariously stupid.   The tax burden is the lowest it’s been in 60 years, and they have the nerve to demand that they’re over-taxed.  Sure, sure, right.  Scratch the surface, and what they really mean is “I hate that Obama won.”  There’s really nothing more to it.

That being said, I think that the best way to combat them is to resort to their tactics – pick a narrative, and refuse to deviate from it.  The narrative I propose is that they hate Jesus, and, by extension, America.

They will, of course, deny this, but there are so, so many passages in the Bible to toss at them that you may as well just chuck the entire book at their head – and then claim, when they duck, that they can’t stand the touch of the Bible and that is therefore proof of their demonic nature.  Just do what they do – turn everything that they say or do into support for your argument.

“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” Jesus said, which means “Pay your fucking taxes like a good citizen.”  They don’t want to do that, so they must hate Jesus.

Jesus said that if you don’t help the sick and the poor, you’re not helping him.  They hate the idea of healthcare and welfare, so they must want Jesus to starve and die.

It doesn’t get easier than this.  The Tea Partiers hate Jesus.  And since they insist that this is a Christian nation, and they hate Christ, they obviously hate America, too.

The Religious Right simply cannot get enough of the concept that These United States are a Christian Nation™, founded on Christian Values™, and therefore, we need to Christian the place up.  Of course, they have very strange ideas of what Christian Values™ actually entails.

Let’s do some quick defining:  For starters, what constitutes “Christian” anyway?  The Bible itself is made up of two distinct (and conflicting) parts, those being the pre-Christ and Christ-and-beyond parts.   The first is made up of a long list of back story, but the meat of Christianity is in the New Testament.  Everything before that can be described as “not Christian.”  So, let’s focus our attention on the New Testament.

A “Christian Nation™,” therefore, would be bound by all of the morality espoused by the New Testament.  It would not only be forced to uphold whatever strictures were mentioned, but it would also be forced to conform to those very strictures.  Matthew 5 (The Beatitudes) has a number of very specific things to say, none of which sound very American.

The two biggest changes we’d need as a nation would be how we deal with the least among us (you know, the bottom 98% of all earners), and our national “defense.”  Verse 42 has something to say about the former…

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

And right on the heels of that, Verses 43-45 discuss the latter…

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

Oh my!  We’re supposed to care for the poor and not fight our enemies?  What kind of madness is this?   Of course, if we were to eliminate the defense budget, we’d have a lot more left over for stuff like paying our outstanding national debt (as we should, according to Romans 13:8).

So no, this is not a “Christian Nation™,” it is simply a nation that happens to be populated with people claiming to be Christians.  Capitalism in its current form (and, in particular, American capitalism) is wholly incompatible with the Christianity that is found in the Bible.  The next time someone tries screaming about this being a Christian nation, agree with them, and ask them if they support relief funding for wounded Taliban fighters.  If they say no, tell them that they’re not Christians, and if they’re not of Christ, then they are certainly of Satan and aren’t welcome in this Christian Nation.

It’ll probably shut them up long enough for you to make a hasty retreat.


Posted: 10 May 2010 in religion

There’s a street preacher at the corner of 34th and Spruce in University City.  I don’t know how long he spends there each day, but I know that he gets there just before 7:30 AM and proceeds to dispense his sermon from a shoulder-slung bullhorn.  He’s not the fire-and-brimstone type of preacher, more of the “Jesus loves you, so you should love him back” sort.  His message isn’t really harsh (aside from it being barked to everyone within a 3-block radius).  He doesn’t actually interact with the passers-by, just stands there preaching.

I’m not really sure what his point is.  Everyone I’ve seen acts as though he’s not there.  He’s like a fixture.  I’ve always wanted to ask him what he thought he was accomplishing.  For every person that might be swayed to his point of view, there have to be a thousand thinking (like me) “I don’t want to get involved with a faith that has this guy standing on a street corner making a noisy nuisance of himself every day.”  So really, what’s the point?

That’s just backstory for my point.  He was going on this morning about sin and how we need to repent and whatnot.   I know what the concept of sin is, but I reject it out of hand.  Nearly every religion offers up the idea of sin.  Most of them have a set of standard ethics that are inherent to all religions (don’t murder*, don’t steal*), violation of which is classified as sin. Most of them also have a code of religious conduct, which strict adherence to is necessary in order to avoid sinning*.  Christianity, for instance, requires its faithful to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior who died to absolve mankind of sin.  Failure to accept this as fact is, according to the religion, sin.  Of a particularly grave magnitude, I might add.

You could go on a five-state killing spree butchering pregnant women and children, but if you Praise Jesus! right before the Sodium Pentathol (hopefully) knocks you out, it’s paradise for you.  Of course, if you donate all your worldly goods to helping starving children in Africa and dedicate every waking hour to service to your fellow man, but forget to Praise Jesus!, you roast for eternity.  Also, there’s this bit about denying the Holy Spirit, a sin from which there is no recovery.

The problem I have with this concept is that it (among various other things) sets up this God character as a monstrously fiendish creature that delights in near-random suffering. Let’s take, for instance, every man, woman and child that lived and died in North America between 33 CE and, oh… 1492 CE. Do they all roast in the fires of Hell for having the sheer audacity to not Praise Jesus!? Let’s ignore the fact that they had never heard of Jesus.  Of course, when they did hear about him, it was a message conveyed by a genocidal maniac who almost instantly began enslaving and murdering them (and now has his own national holiday!).

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather burn for eternity than spend one second basking in the glow of an all-powerful being that would condone that.  If my eternal punishment for not providing enough blood for the blood god or skulls for the skull throne is damnation, then I’m wondering what the eternal reward for meeting the quotas actually is?

Now, this concept certainly isn’t limited to Christianity.  But again, every time it’s repeated, it sets the controlling power up as a monster.  Why being a good (insert religion)ian more important than being a good person to one’s fellow humans?  Nearly all religions agree that one needs to be nice to their neighbors.  They might disagree on who one’s neighbors are, but when you boil it down, every religion says “don’t be an asshole to your own.”  If they all agree on that, why is that less important than “feed my godly ego!”?

*contingent upon context, of course.