“It’s not the Current Year” Is not a Sound Moral Argument

(Editor’s note: This piece originally ran at the Troubler of Israel blog at Patheos.)

Why don’t we burn witches in 2017? Maybe for the same reason we approve of same-sex marriage. C. S. Lewis explains in “Mere Christianity”:

…one man said to me, “Three hundred years ago people in England were putting witches to death. Was that what you call the Rule of Human Nature or Right Conduct?” But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did–if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did. There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.

You’ll frequently hear people these days say, “It’s 2017!” as an argument for abandoning some traditional or conservative moral scruple, usually having to do with sex. They mean more than that in this enlightened era, we’ve moved past such moral scruples. Surrendering principles is not, in itself, enlightened.

What they’re implying is that the moral scruples of yesteryear were really expressions of bigotry and hatred. The people who lived back then had no good reason for holding them. They were merely prejudiced and ignorant, and their beliefs about morality were irrational. Thus, casting aside their moral principles is a way of displaying our enlightenment. It’s how we progress.

But this all depends on a lie we tell ourselves. The fact is that bigotry, while always present to some degree in the human heart, is not the reason why people hundreds of years ago held the moral scruples they did. They held these beliefs because in their understanding, sexual immorality was destructive to human flourishing and contrary to the way we were created. Even worse, engaging in unrepentant sexual immorality would lead one to eternal damnation and isolation from God, Who is the source of all life and well-being. Thus, not to stigmatize sexual (as well as other types of) immorality was quite literally to doom human beings to temporal suffering, followed by eternal spiritual torment.

What this means is that those who called their neighbors back from this precipice in love, or only by condemning such illicit acts, were exercising benevolence, to the best of their understanding. To look down on or patronize these ancestors of ours for doing what they believed to be beneficial to mankind, and to smear their motives as bigotry, is itself bigotry, as well as inexcusable laziness. That we no longer condemn sexual sins because we believe them to be fun and harmless, and don’t believe there is such a place as Hell, is not moral progress. It’s just a natural reflection of our worldview.

But following Lewis’ lead, let’s take it one step further: What if we in 2017 are wrong, and our benighted ancestors were right? What if our self-deception is deeper than we’d ever dare to admit on a large scale? What if we’ve papered over and medicated and anesthetized ourselves to keep from feeling the true damage inflicted by our immorality? What if we’ve covenanted together to kill the inconvenient fruits of our enlightened revelries and silence the voices of those hung out to dry in our post-morality culture? And what if–worse still–we’ve stopped our ears and closed our eyes to shut out the memory of God, whom we really know is there, and of Hell, which we still know is a real place, in order to satisfy our lusts while we look down our noses at those bigoted denizens of our cemeteries and their puritanical moral scruples?

If they were right and we are wrong, that would turn our self-important accusations around. It would mean not only that we have to answer for our sins against one another in this life and the life to come, but that these wounds will be salted by the knowledge that we, not our ancestors, were the truly bigoted ones.

Maybe that’s too painful. Maybe it’s easier to just insist we’re the moral betters of those who came before. After all, they can’t defend themselves.

 

Image: Wikipedia Commons, “el desembarco de los puritanos en América en 1620”


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  • Zarm

    Very well said. The argument on belief that invokes the year has always seemed strange to me; if something is true, as it claims to be, then it is true regardless of the date. If it is false, it has always been false- but is not made so by the date or length of time it has been believed.

    This article cuts to the crux of things- that the subconscious implication of such a statement is the assumption that the criticized belief is based on bigotry or ignorance, and the intervening time has allowed us to move past it. But that is a claim that requires external support- that requires proof on its own merits- and simply assuming it to be so based on time period is intellectually dishonest. Ideas must be evaluated on their own merits and their validity as ideas, not automatically accepted OR dismissed due to their age.

    And the assumption that society has only ever discarded folly and ignorance and embraced more advanced principles is not only dangerously arrogant, but ignorant of history; for every culture that has ever degenerated, every Dred Scott decision and societal collapse, the ongoing passage of time and continuing development of society has not always equated (and certainly does not automatically equal) development in a *positive* direction. A fact that we forget, in our ‘chronological snobbery’ toward ages past, at our peril.

    • Scott

      Somewhere in those words I detect the ring of truth.

    • Phoenix1977

      “if something is true, as it claims to be, then it is true regardless of the date. If it is false, it has always been false- but is not made so by the date or length of time it has been believed.”
      Clearly, “if” is the keyword here. Quite a few Christian believes have proven to be false over time, the best known of all being the earth the center of our universe. It was proven over 400 years ago that believe was false after the Catholic church taught it to be the correct view for over a millennium.
      As long as the majority of the people believed Christian morality to be right it was right, because who was going to challenge it? But (un)fortunately that is no longer the case. Even among Christians the strict morality taught by the church is questioned, let alone among those who do not consider themselves Christians. Because there is no proof the Christian moral view is true. And in 2017 people need more than just “because we say so” in order to accept a truth. So without proof the majority of the people sees Christian morality (especially after the scandals in the church) as false.

      • Steve

        Phoenix, you said, “there is no proof the Christian moral view is true.” I continue to have the same question for you. You argue for moral relativism AND for “truth.” Your arguments, which you use to merely tear down absolutes, are made themselves as absolutes. You gave an example of people believing the earth was the center of the universe. That is something that can be scientifically proven or disproven. What is being spoken of here is not a scientific proof but a moral argument–how things ought to be. You yourself argue that there is a standard against which things are measured while at the same time arguing against absolutes, except what satisfies your arguments.

        • Phoenix1977

          We were talking true and false and I simply pointed out there are several things Christianity preached to be true while later on they were proven to be false. Worse, the church went out of it’s way to maintain their “truths” which were proven false instead of simply admitting they were wrong.

          But if you want to talk about morals that’s fine as well. There are quite a few proven false “truths” there as well.

          Whenever religious conservatives talk about homosexuality they say it’s unnatural, against the natural law and a conscious choice. However, to date homosexuality is observed in over 1500 species in the animal kingdom. It doesn’t get any more natural than that. And how, for example, are lions going to make a conscious choice whether to be gay or straight? Of course these facts were unknown about 100 years ago but today we do know homosexuality IS natural, causing society to evolve from previous positions.

          The Christian dogma on monogamy is just as much false as homosexuality being unnatural. Humans are primates and primates aren’t monogamous for life; they are monogamous for the moment. Once they have had their success with one female they are starting the hunt for the next in order to spread their DNA as widely as possible. Until the 1950s-1960s humanity refused to accept they were simply highly developed animals and biologically driven by the same urges as their less developed cousins but we no longer have that problem. The majority of society now accepts their animalistic nature and therefor evolved from Christian sexual morality. And let’s not even begin about living a chaste or celibate life because those are absolutely incompatible with our biology.

          Transgenderism is also seen in several species. Several species of amphibians and fish are known to be able to change their gender at will if there is a shortage of males or females without changing their DNA. And if other animal species can change their gender at will, why shouldn’t humans do the same? All because Christianity says it is wrong? The knowledge about other animal species has evolved society from those Christian morals.

          So advancement of knowledge does change humanity’s view on (sexual) morality. Stating “it’s 2017” does make a difference in a discussion on issues like sex because we now know so much more than we knew in 1917, or 1817. Whatever Christians want to believe on those matters is their choice but Christians need to accept one major difference between 1917 and 2017: Christians are now a minority in society and can no longer take for granted their views are shared with society. Christians now face the same challenges all minorities in any society face: to find and defend their own role in society. And knowing how Christians treated minorities in the past Christians cannot expect society to be very warm towards the Christian minority. Previous generations of Christians ruined that for Christians living today.

          • ThyWill Bdone

            Phoenix… Jesus Christ of Nazareth Rose from the Dead, True or False?

          • Phoenix1977

            False

          • Steve

            Can you prove that?

          • Phoenix1977

            Can you?

          • Steve

            You are the one who claims there is no truth and then claims that something is false.
            Your inherent contradictions negate your arguments.

          • Phoenix1977

            False is the default in any hypothesis. So the burden of proof there was a Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross and came back to life is on those who believe that to be true. Not me.

          • Steve

            So you would agree that a “false” implies the existence of a “true”?
            You seem to always claim that there is no Truth.

          • Phoenix1977

            I have always said truth is in the eyes of the beholder, so nothing changed. Only that we can now add “time” to the list of things that influence truth as well.

      • Scott

        “Quite a few Christian believes have proven to be false over time, the best known of all being the earth the center of our universe. It was proven over 400 years ago that believe was false after the Catholic church taught it to be the correct view for over a millennium.”

        No doubt… also many of the scientists who have discovered the truth behind God’s physical laws (creations), did so because their Christian values afforded this search for the truth.

        Again, you should read Francis Collins book “The Language of God.”

        
”As long as the majority of the people believed Christian morality to be right it was right, because who was going to challenge it? But (un)fortunately that is no longer the case.”

        Christian morality was new 2000 years ago. It wasn’t supported by the majority of people then and one could make the argument that it never has. God knew people were not capable of adhering to His moral laws. That is why He sent Christ Jesus. Jesus also came to show us where/how we were going wrong. We (Christians and non-Christians) have been challenging Jesus’ morality since. Just read CS Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters” for a good illustration of this.

        “Even among Christians the strict morality taught by the church is questioned, let alone among those who do not consider themselves Christians. Because there is no proof the Christian moral view is true. And in 2017 people need more than just “because we say so” in order to accept a truth. So without proof the majority of the people sees Christian morality (especially after the scandals in the church) as false.”

        Morality is not something science can “prove.” Same thing goes for God (or anything spiritual in nature) because He (they) exists outside of the material/physical world our science is limited to.

        We can however examine the evidence God provides for His existence. For example, Jesus did exist. That is a proven fact. Also there is more evidence supporting His resurrection than refuting it. Because God has given us free will, we are required to make a choice. He has left us plenty of evidence scientifically as well as spiritually for those of us needing help with our faith. But ultimately we need to have faith to get there… you have chosen to put your faith (and you need a good degree of it) in atheism and we have chosen to put our faith in God and Jesus. Through faith God is teaching us that true love cannot be coerced, it can only be expressed through free will.

        • Phoenix1977

          “also many of the scientists who have discovered the truth behind God’s physical laws (creations), did so because their Christian values afforded this search for the truth.”
          And they were even supported and sanctioned by the church … as long as their results were in line with church teachings.

          “It wasn’t supported by the majority of people then and one could make the argument that it never has. ”
          That’s also a way of looking at it.

          “God knew people were not capable of adhering to His moral laws.”
          Than why give them in the first place? Why set the bar so high the only possible outcome is failure? Sounds almost malevolent, don’t you think?

          “Same thing goes for God (or anything spiritual in nature) because He (they) exists outside of the material/physical world our science is limited to.”
          How convenient.

          “Jesus did exist. That is a proven fact.”
          Oh, I’m sure there once was a man from Nazareth who was called Jesus. And I can even believe he was crucified. But that is as far as my believe goes. Not even the theory of a deep coma or suspended animation works for me. He either died on that cross and remained dead or he didn’t die at all.

          “But ultimately we need to have faith to get there… ”
          No, you need blind faith and a complete lack of any form of critical thought to accept everything the bible and the church teach you. I understand that is easy and comfortable for some people because it absolves you of all responsibility. But I prefer to use my own mental capabilities.

          • Scott

            “Than why give them in the first place? Why set the bar so high the only possible outcome is failure? Sounds almost malevolent, don’t you think?”

            Not at all… I often set the bar beyond my reach. God also suffers with us. He suffered the cross because He loves us that much.

            “How convenient.”

            How cynical. : – )

            “No, you need blind faith and a complete lack of any form of critical thought to accept everything the bible and the church teach you. I understand that is easy and comfortable for some people because it absolves you of all responsibility. But I prefer to use my own mental capabilities.”

            Do I detect a note of frustration? : – )

            On the contrary, it takes a great deal more “critical thought” to accept God’s word in the Bible. It has never been easy or comfortable to follow Christ and it takes more responsibility than most have to live faithfully.

            Your ideology is based on faith as well my friend. You have no answers, no proof that God does not exist, no proof that Jesus wasn’t resurrected from the dead. There is plenty of evidence supporting both of the existence of God and Jesus’s resurrection.

            The atheists position (where I was 10 years ago) in my opinion is much easier… just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

          • Phoenix1977

            “Not at all… I often set the bar beyond my reach. God also suffers with us. He suffered the cross because He loves us that much.”
            Strange way of showing love.

            “How cynical. : – )”
            No argument 🙂

            “Do I detect a note of frustration? : – )”
            I do get frustrated with Christians (and other religious people) quite often, yes. Like I said before, sometimes I’d just love to reach in and knock some sense into you people.

            “You have no answers, no proof that God does not exist, no proof that Jesus wasn’t resurrected from the dead.”
            That’s the beauty of being a scientist. I don’t need proof to state something didn’t happen. Proof to me it did and I will believe you. Without proof, no such luck.
            And I do have proof Jesus wasn’t resurrected because it’s simply biologically impossible.

            “The atheists position (where I was 10 years ago) in my opinion is much easier”
            Well, it is nowadays because you no longer have to justify being an atheist. Being an atheist is now the default.

          • Scott

            “Strange way of showing love.”

            Sacrificing to show love is not strange at all, what about shaving one’s head in support of a loved one with cancer. Let’s take this a step further. Ever hear the story of Maximilian Kolbe?

            “I do get frustrated with Christians (and other religious people) quite often, yes. Like I said before, sometimes I’d just love to reach in and knock some sense into you people.”

            Your frustration I can understand… but it is not sense we Christians lack. We have a great deal of evidence and experience to back our faith in Christ.

            “That’s the beauty of being a scientist. I don’t need proof to state something didn’t happen. Proof to me it did and I will believe you. Without proof, no such luck.”

            Not true. The burden of proof falls on us all… and if something can’t be proven, then we must stake our claims based on evidence.

            
”And I do have proof Jesus wasn’t resurrected because it’s simply biologically impossible.”

            Science has no way of proving or disproving something that exists outside of its boundaries. More than 500 eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Jesus.

            I’m curious, do you agree that humans do not know everything there is to know about how universe works? Would you agree that humans are extremely limited when it comes to manipulating some of the universe’s most basic physical laws? Is it possible that we have a lot to learn in that regard? Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this?

            “Well, it is nowadays because you no longer have to justify being an atheist. Being an atheist is now the default.”

            You’re funny. : – ) There is no “default.” We are not machines. All of us must justify our beliefs.

          • Phoenix1977

            “We have a great deal of evidence and experience to back our faith in Christ.”
            Your evidence depends on your faith, and your faith depends on your evidence. Circular reasoning is not acceptable in science.

            “The burden of proof falls on us all…”
            Actually, it doesn’t. “False” is always the standard answer to any hypothesis in science while truth must be proven. So as long as there is no solid, scientific evidence for a god the hypothesis remains unproven and therefor false.

            “More than 500 eyewitnesses claim to have seen the resurrected Jesus.”
            How many people have claimed to have met Elvis after his death? Or Jim Morison? Or Michael Jackson?

            “do you agree that humans do not know everything there is to know about how universe works?”
            No, I would agree we don’t know everything YET. But we will, someday. Through science, not religion.

            “There is no “default.” We are not machines.”
            Watched humanity lately? If there is a race of automatons it’s the human race.

            “All of us must justify our beliefs.”
            And yet, in recent years only religious people have been defending themselves in court. Why would that be?

  • jason taylor

    If I recall Mussolini was once the wave of the future.

  • jason taylor

    Seriously I think that comes from technological development. Engineering has exact criteria for superiority which is doing the same task with greater efficiency and technology has pretty steadily advanced. That is deceitful. Nobody says that a computer can calculate and an abacus cannot. But the idea that fornication is wrong and the idea that it is laudable are contradictory not evolutionary.

  • Phoenix1977

    “What this means is that those who called their neighbors back from this precipice in love, or only by condemning such illicit acts, were exercising benevolence, to the best of their understanding.”
    Really? And the electroshock therapies. the lobotomies and the castrations? Were they also “benevolence to the best of their understanding”? Because if they were we should all be very, very, very grateful humanity has evolved from that. And with those far more “benevolent acts”, like chastising your wife for talking back to her husband, of forcing a woman out of the city when having her monthly period.
    Benevolence. As if!

    • jason taylor

      You are shooting at the wrong target. The Puritans were as far as women’s rights went fairly advanced for their time and most of that sort of thing was motivated by family honor not piety. Puritans punished adultery in both sexes and husbands enjoyed no divine right to wivebeat as far as the law was concerned. If you do not believe me read David Hackett Fischer.

      • Phoenix1977

        I wasn’t talking about just the Puritans. I was talking about Christianity in general until at least the 4th quarter of the last century.

        • Scott

          “I wasn’t talking about just the Puritans. I was talking about Christianity in general until at least the 4th quarter of the last century.”

          But they are Christians? Your blanket criticisms do not hold merit. Many Christians, not just Puritans, revered women and held them in high esteem… all the way back to Jesus in the New Testament.

          • Phoenix1977

            “Many Christians, not just Puritans, revered women and held them in high esteem…”
            And a lot of them didn’t, and still don’t, and use Christianity and the bible to defend their behavior with.

          • Scott

            “And a lot of them didn’t, and still don’t, and use Christianity and the bible to defend their behavior with.”

            Yeah… but none of that is supported by what Jesus says. The devil’s business is twisting something around to conceal it’s true meaning.

          • Phoenix1977

            “Yeah… but none of that is supported by what Jesus says. The devil’s business is twisting something around to conceal it’s true meaning.”
            Like I said before, reasoning like that can justify anything. However, the justification would disappear if the religion would disappear.

  • Phoenix1977

    “No, our evidence is based on facts, ranging from archeological discoveries to human experiences.”
    Human experiences are hardly facts, and pretty much every archaeologist will tell you their findings are hardly ever easily to interpret.

    “The difference in how you and I view this evidence is a matter of perspective.”
    Evidence means facts. Facts are not open to interpretation.

    “I’m guessing there weren’t more than 20 gathered together at one time recording what Elvis, Jim or Michael was teaching. : – )”
    I’m not sure if you are serious here or not, but try thousands to tens of thousands.

    “I thought “false” was the standard answer to any hypothesis?”
    Hmm, you got me there. Let’s call it my assumptions, than 🙂

    “The courts can’t determine our beliefs?”
    They actually can. The courts did so, for example, in case of polygamy based on religion and by determining religion was no excuse to oppose interracial relationships.

    • Scott

      “Human experiences are hardly facts”

      Our interpretation of those experiences are not but the experience itself is. For example: If a person driving a car runs into the back of my car when I stop for a stop sign, the accident becomes a fact that I experience. My interpretation of that experience and the variables surrounding it may or may not be fact.

      “and pretty much every archaeologist will tell you their findings are hardly ever easily to interpret.”

      Regardless of how easy they are to interpret, they are fact. And in the case of a previous example (the Dead Sea Scrolls) nearly every credible scholar agrees on their translation acknowledging them as fact.

      
”Evidence means facts. Facts are not open to interpretation.”

      Nothing could be further from the truth. A piece of evidence may be a fact, and that fact may point to the truth, but it does not by itself prove that truth. Just ask any detective in charge of solving a crime. They have to interpret the evidence in order to discover the truth.
      Again, I could point you towards several books that might help you in understanding the evidence we Christians have.

      “I’m not sure if you are serious here or not, but try thousands to tens of thousands.”

      Let me put it this way. None of the three have put on a concert since their death… and no one has credibly claimed otherwise. But unlike Elvis, Jim and Michael, the claims to Jesus’ resurrection are. Every century at least one famous atheist sets out to disprove Christianity with the intent of writing a book telling everyone that Christianity is not true. Perhaps you should do the same?

      
”Hmm, you got me there. Let’s call it my assumptions, than :-)”

      Fair enough. : – )

      
”They actually can. The courts did so, for example, in case of polygamy based on religion and by determining religion was no excuse to oppose interracial relationships.”

      In the example you use, the courts didn’t determine that person’s beliefs. They likely didn’t change that person’s beliefs either. The courts did however determine that person’s beliefs couldn’t oppose/determine the outcome of another person’s relationship though. Big difference. A persons beliefs can’t be forcibly changed because they reside inside the mind/heart of that person.

  • Phoenix1977

    “Just curious, where do you think your idea of right and wrong comes from?”
    Ethics I was trained in, and the law.

    • Scott

      You don’t always agree with the law so I guess that depends on who’s writing them?

      Your version of right and wrong… do you make the rules?

      • Phoenix1977

        “You don’t always agree with the law so I guess that depends on who’s writing them?”
        There are thousands of laws I don’t agree with. Doesn’t change the fact they are the law and the law is to be obeyed.

        “Your version of right and wrong… do you make the rules?”
        No idea what you mean with this.

        • Scott

          “No idea what you mean with this.”

          Sorry, I have to remember to be more descriptive when I write and not expect that people can read my mind! : – )

          I meant different people have different ideas about what right and wrong are so how do we make laws if we can’t agree on what the laws should be? I am just wondering how (as an atheist) you would reconcile right and wrong if everyone has a different opinion of what each of those are. Who’s version of right and wrong do make into law?

          • Phoenix1977

            “Who’s version of right and wrong do make into law?”
            Your last question is, unfortunately, easiest to answer: the ruling majority because they simply have the required votes.

            “I am just wondering how (as an atheist) you would reconcile right and wrong if everyone has a different opinion of what each of those are.”
            I’m not a philosopher. I’m and atheist and, more importantly, a pragmatist. My view to the world is just as basic as the oath I took when I became a doctor: “First, do no harm”. As long as that demand is met I’m satisfied.

          • Scott

            “Your last question is, unfortunately, easiest to answer: the ruling majority because they simply have the required votes… I’m not a philosopher. I’m and atheist and, more importantly, a pragmatist. My view to the world is just as basic as the oath I took when I became a doctor: “First, do no harm”. As long as that demand is met I’m satisfied.”

            If I were to combine those two answers, where the ruling majority makes the laws, then doesn’t it stand to reason that the ruling majority might end up harming the powerless minority?

            Let me ask another question. If you are part of the ruling majority, do you ignore the harm inflicted on the powerless minority?

          • Phoenix1977

            “where the ruling majority makes the laws, then doesn’t it stand to reason that the ruling majority might end up harming the powerless minority?”
            It’s not that easy in European countries. Except for the UK our countries don’t have a 2- or 3-party system. Virtually all European countries have 30+ political parties in their parliament and coalitions need to be formed in order to get anything done. That makes it quite difficult to harm minorities because next week you might need the help of one of the other factions.

          • Scott

            Interesting, thanks for the info! I am certainly no expert on how european governments operate. : – )

            “That makes it quite difficult to harm minorities because next week you might need the help of one of the other factions.”

            I would be inclined to agree with you on this except for what you said in another conversation:

            “In the Netherlands you have free speech as long as you obey the law. Religion is banned from the public square and preaching uninvited is a violation of our laws. So you cannot claim free speech when you are either removed or arrested for preaching in public without an invitation or permit.”

            If others are allowed to demonstrate where Christians are not, then harm (in the form of discrimination) is being done.

          • Phoenix1977

            “If others are allowed to demonstrate where Christians are not, then harm (in the form of discrimination) is being done.”
            Christians are allowed to demonstrate but not to preach. Big difference. And it’s not just Christians who are not allowed to preach in the public square. Same goes for Muslims, Jews, Hindu’s and any other type of religion.
            For example: pro-life groups are allowed to demonstrate but they are not allowed to use biblical references during those protests. They are allowed to hand out information but that information cannot contain religious references or information. There is, of course, a grey area and I can’t remember a case where pro-lifers were arrested for handing out flyers with religious information in them. Unless they were sidewalk counseling near abortion clinics. That is not allowed in the Netherlands.

          • Scott

            Thanks again! I had no idea…

            You probably can guess what my opinion of all that might be. : – )

            Can atheists hand out information promoting their ideological perspective? Suppressing the voice (including their literature) of any group is a horrible idea… it reminds me a bit of what Germany was doing back in the 40’s. It sounds like the Netherlands is doing its best to oppress the religious.

          • Phoenix1977

            “Can atheists hand out information promoting their ideological perspective?”
            Since atheism / humanism is not a religion they can. We are a secular country and religion is not welcome in the public square.

            “It sounds like the Netherlands is doing its best to oppress the religious.”
            No, in the Netherlands (and most European countries) everyone is required to obey the law without exception. And we don’t have unlimited freedom of religion or speech. In Europe religion is considered a private matter, best kept in houses of worship and people’s own homes, not the public square.
            Besides, I have little problem with the oppressors being oppressed.

          • Scott

            “Besides, I have little problem with the oppressors being oppressed.”

            Two wrongs don’t make a right… and I am not your oppressor.

          • Phoenix1977

            “Two wrongs don’t make a right”
            Whoever said anything about making anything right? It’s simply payback, nothing more.

          • Scott

            What are you paying me back for? You can’t penalize one for another’s actions?