This is a response to the journal entry my dear friend `farand left behind this morning. He and I have had several conversations on the subject and while I am sad that it has driven him to no longer be active as one of the best CVs we've had in the chats for some time, I also envy his conviction. Sadly I am too much a creature of habit to commit to not coming around here anymore over even something like this.
I'm leaving because deviantART will not reprimand anyone who says the most hateful things in the name of religion. It is against the rules to say that you deserve to be eternally tortured, but not to say that you deserve to be eternally tortured in Hell - the latter is 'widely accepted religious dogma', which deviantART classifies as fine. Well, I don't classify it as fine. I classify it as bullying and hateful and intimidating, and potentially very psychologically harmful indeed.
I spoke about this a bit before, but I'll add this in as an addendum:
Essentially what is going on here is the usual way that religion gets a free pass to do basically whatever it wants. I've seen this many times on the site, where people will say really horrible things and not get so much as a slap on the wrist because their comments are based on what society has identified as a popular religion.
The idea of hell itself is utterly disgusting and it is really sad that people don't take the fact that these people are either claiming or wishing that others will be and DESERVE to be tortured forever
more seriously. If you've been so desensitized to the idea of torture being a truly horrific thing, even for just a moment let alone an eternity, I suggest you look up some of the techniques used in SERE training in the military. The most accessible way is to watch people voluntarily be waterboarded
. Even being voluntary, if you catch the face of the person when the blindfold is taken off, you will see real terror and pain.
Here is another popular demonstration of a torture technique which may seem, in writing, very benign.
For those of you thinking that there is any excuse to allow people to say such things, I really suggest you take a good hard look at what torture really is and understand that nobody, NOBODY deserves it even for a moment.
Now, to make this even more clear, I have to point out... deviantART is in the business of removing those who say "bad words," words which, in a given context, some may find offensive (some words being banned completely regardless of context). "Removal" ranging from a temporary ban from the chatrooms or forums to an actual site ban. To contrast this, the saying of other things which have demonstrable harm to them (I'm sorry, did you think the extremely high suicide rate among LGBT community was a coincidence? Surely it doesn't have anything to do with being bombarded with the message that you deserve eternal torture, and that being an acceptable view to have among most societies.) will not only not net any punishment, but the criticism of such may result in punishment.
You can tell people that they will be or deserve to be tortured in any number of words but if you criticize another for holding such beliefs you are being "intolerant" or "bigoted" or "harassing" them.
I mean, really?
I think the part that is most disappointing to me, and has been for years, is that I've always seen the art community as the first place where social revolution occurs. We artsy types should be a bit ahead of the game in terms of humanistic development. After all, many members of our community are, and have traditionally been, those most victimized by harmful social norms.
I think that it is also observably true that the opposite describes most organized religion... it is the last to change its policies because its members are often those who benefit most from harmful social norms.
For all this, here is deviantART, a place not really "deviant" at all in terms of its administration. Utterly homogeneous. No desire at all, for what I've seen, to push the envelope beyond what is seen as widely socially acceptable, to expect better from its policies and members. Here we are, facing having the same social norms we have to deal with everywhere else being set upon us on the one place where we should be able to escape it.
I have settled for vigilantism on the subject before, and I was banned for it. At this point the administration of this site have been so completely moronic about dealing with this issue for so long that I'm no longer particularly concerned about being removed again.
So here is my challenge, deviantART: Remove the excuse of religious doctrine. Bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless of whether an imaginary friend and/or massive organization promotes it. Take the horrific threats seriously and stop enabling that kind of harassment. You already limit free speech and admit as much, so how about actually stopping the kinds of speech which we KNOW actually hurt people?
Edit: Just as a side note, this is mostly an issue because other forms of censorship are already present. If we were talking about a truly free and open forum, obviously this would not be the case. deviantART is not an open forum, though, and sees fit to prevent people from using particular words and talking about or posting art about certain subjects, namely with explicit sexual material. It is my opinion, and I would think that this would line up with statistical fact, that "bad words" and sexual material do very little harm, particularly compared to the very clear and demonstrable harm caused by these religious doctrines. If we are going to be legislating the bad words and sexual content, I would damn well hope we'd be dealing with religious bigotry as well.