Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hate crimes against religions: Believe or not - at your own risk

At my age, I tend to believe the stuff that makes sense, based on observations of daily life in North America over the past 55 years.

Re hate crimes, for example, here’s an FBI breakdown from the United States from 2004:

Race: 53.8%
Religion: 16.4%
Sexual orientation: 15.6%
Ethnicity: 13.3%

So some people really do have their shirts in a knot over other people’s religions. Not as many as over race, by any means, but still ...

Here’s something really interesting though, the tabulation of offenses:

Religion: 1,374
Anti-Jewish 954
Anti-Catholic 57
Anti-Protestant 38
Anti-Islamic 156
Anti-Other Religion 128
Anti-Multiple Religions, Group 35
Anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc. 6

So Jewish people are way more at risk than others.

If I weren’t so happy being a Catholic, I would be tempted to be a Jew. I wouldn’t be tempted to be an atheist/agnostic, because it doesn’t sound like anyone cares much.

I wonder what the next installment of hate crimes stats will say?

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A philosopher faces death ... and mysticism

A philosopher, Ernst Tudgendhat, muses on the fear of death:
I just have this worry that I could have missed out on the main thing. But in the meantime this feeling's been pushed to the side by mysticism.

But how can mysticism help?

It helps you recognise that in any event you're not so relevant. That has to do with amazement at what Heidegger called being, or, as Wittgenstein said, that this world exists at all.

If you're not important yourself, then where do you get the motivation to live? Isn't it debilitating to believe that everything is important, except yourself?

No, I'm just as important, but no more so. In addition, I do have philosophical ambitions, and I'm happy when I'm successful in what I do, even if in fact I condemn such an attitude. I try to downplay my own importance, but in point of fact I experience how important I do consider myself.

He has some interesting things to say about Heidegger too.