Winds of change

Quixote tipped me off to the new site, You probably know all about Beliefnet, one of the oldest faith-oriented sites around. Beliefnet is all about faith of all stripes and tolerance of anything related to faith, providing a place where people with even crazy beliefs can find acceptance and dialog with one another.  It strikes me as a site for spiritual wimps.  Disbeliefnet, on the other hand, is a site dedicated to ridiculing any kind of weird belief that exists, and some that aren’t quite so weird. It’s a perfect complement to Beliefnet, providing a place for non-spiritual wimps to hang out. However, I think it is evidence of a new trend, a sign that a pendulum somewhere is perhaps beginning its back stroke.

Another bit of news that Quixote passed along is also advertised on Disbeliefnet: Bill Maher, the ex-host of Politically Incorrect, has jumped on the documentary bandwagon. His film Religulous, to be released on October 3rd, also ridicules the things that people believe in. Click on the link and you can see a pretty cool trailer.  Maher must have a lot of faith in his followers, as he’s got a film targeted at a very, very small audience, if you believe any of the poll data. Unless, of course, he’s hoping it will attract everyone, because we all – except perhaps for some of the beliefnet wimps – like to laugh at other people’s weird beliefs.

It’s true – I’ve laughed at things that you probably believe for years.  I’ve been known to make fun of Jim Dobson, TV preachers like Robert Tilton (who hasn’t?) and that lady with the pink hair. I’ve laughed at Pat Robertson, I’ve laughed at the Fool on the Hill, and I’ve laughed at people who believe they reincarnate into cows.  I also laugh at people who don’t believe anything, like Buddhists and atheists.  Laughter is what happens when your brain doesn’t know what to do with a particular bit of information that we’re trying to assimilate. And, medical research shows that its good for us to laugh, so we have some scientific basis for it.

But, let me tell you what Disbeliefnet and Religulous signify: they are signs that there is a change in the wind, that we are now entering a post-tolerance age.  That’s right, post-tolerance.  For the last few years, we’ve had liberals stuffing tolerance down our throats, and obviously, we’re tired of it.  People have become so afraid of offending anyone that they can only make fun of themselves. What fun is that?  We’re still allowed to ridicule public figures, of course, which helps a bit. Then there’s the Minority Rule, which says that if you’re a recognized minority, you can make fun of the majority, but they can’t make fun of you. I mean, get real. There’s more of us, so explain to me why we can’t make fun of minorities?

But, apparently it’s now fair game to make fun of anyone.  It was essental, of course, that this trend began with liberals, seeing as how the tolerance movement also came from the left.  The gauche have criticized those on the right all along for being intolerant, so for conservatives to be intolerant is no big deal. But, now that the left has come out in support of intolerance, it’s a different story.

Wow.  What freedom! Freedom of speech returns!  Stay tuned for more post-tolerance posts in the days to come.

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