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It's interesting that everyone gets into a tizzy whenever someone looks at religion and just tells it like it is, but the same doesn't happen with any other subject. We have some strange reverence for religion that we just don't have when it comes to something like economic models. The fact that everyone is so incredibly offended by religious beliefs being criticized doesn't justify avoiding the topic; we don't need to keep our mouths shut just because someone might irrationally be offended by frank and honest commentary. I don't think that any economist is going to tell you to stop criticizing his favorite economic model just because it "offends" him, at worst he's going to tell you that you're an idiot, and maybe even explain why in detail. But for some reason we as a society afford a kind of sacred protection to religion and tell each other not to even consider criticizing religion because it might hurt someone's feelings.

On the other hand, there's an entirely practical set of reasons to not come right out with the criticism. I fully think that religions should be subject to the same level of frank discussion, analysis, and criticism as any other set of beliefs or opinions, but it may be more practical to soften the message in today's social climate. It doesn't matter whether or not what you're saying is actually offensive, what matters is avoiding the perception of vitriol if you want to get through to people who are easily offended. As it stands, posts like this just preach to the choir and piss off everyone else. Once the reader/listener has a negative emotional reaction you're not going to be able to communicate your message to them, they're just going to block it off and not even digest what you're saying.

Anyway, this post is meant to preach to the choir; the point is to show us choir members that we don't recognize the absurdity of religious myths even if we do recognize them as myths. It's supposed to show that we still treat absurd religious myths as reasonable things to believe in -- that we fall into the trap of protecting religion out of "respect" as I described above. The comments above show that it didn't work 100%. ;-)