This article is on the BBC site. It is truly horrifying that this happens at any time let alone this time of the internet and information.
It amazes me that people can rationalise support for this as culture. Culture is just the defence invoked because then your own crazy beliefs will have to be analysed. Truly terrifying stuff out there.
Before retiring, I taught government. I would tell the students that one of their rights was the right to be offended. Your might belong to a religion I consider silly. (I didn't mention that all were included.) Or you might wear a tee shirt for a team I dislike. Soon somebody would ask "But doesn't that mean we also have the right to offend?" That led to a really good discussion. Most came away feeling that, yes, you have that right, but to live in society you need to limit its use.
The complaint goes on: "Because this book has hurt the religious feelings of all Muslims… the complainant pleads that the strictest action be taken against the accused."
-- from the article
Blasphemy is a problem for all religions but especially for islam, because they seem to be utterly insistent that their belief system is supposed to be completely and utterly exempt from any kind of questioning or critical examination, never mind the kind of mockery which its absurdity so clearly invites. Many times we hear islamic protesters insist that they are not in favor of free speech which insults their god or their prophet, yet they use free speech to attack other belief systems without the recognition that sauce for the goose IS sauce for the gander, and if they do it to someone else, they had better be prepared to have the same done to them. Oh, but they're SPECIAL and therefore supposed to be treated in a special fashion, et cetera, et cetera.
Hurt feelings are just that - hurt feelings, and if those who feel hurt cannot be bothered to grow a thicker skin and recognize that words are not actions and that no word or words, no matter how vitriolic, ever brought hard, physical harm to another without the receiver's consent, then there truly is no hope for any of them. I have said this and said this and said this, and I will continue to do so until it sinks in:
No one has the right not to be offended.
Why would blasphemy have the death sentence? It is because those that created the deity want you to take it very seriously. They also know that on its own the deity can do nothing.
So now we will defend and rationalise support for this as "culture." Would we do that if these people were a tribe of cannibals that were eating other people? Probably not, but being cannibalistic is also a part of their culture.
Sorry if I hurt your feelings. Grow up!
They also know at some level that their deity and the religion associated with it cannot tolerate scrutiny. Any kind of investigation, questioning or detailed examination will reveal the uncounted problems it has. That upsets the power structure those in authority have established to control those NOT in authority, and they cannot have that.
And thus the temper tantrums.
The cowards who promote blasphemy laws believe their world view is the monopoly on truth. I say cowards, because allowing blasphemy could bring the wrath of the invisible sky man down on your village, town, city, state, or nation. And that wrath could seriously injure you. After all, their story books are rife with examples of mass destruction based on "I Y'ams What I Y'ams" being pissed at only one or a few and taking it out on everyone else, just like the petulant brat that he is.
I understand the diplomatic history as to why the US is allied with barbarians like the Saudi Royal Family and thugs like the Pakistani government. But the reasons for the alliances to defeat communism are long gone. The Saudi's fly planes into our skyscrapers and the Paskistanis gave safe haven and harbor to the the mastermind behind 9/11. Isn't it time we picked some new allies, and told the Chinese that Islamabad is now in their sphere of influence, so have at it. As to the Saudis, whoever wants to topple the government in Allah's litterbox, knock yourself out.
If your ideas are so pathetically bad, that they do not hold up to scrutiny, then they deserve to be criticized and mocked. If your beliefs were in fact, the perfect word of an all knowing, and all powerful god, then it would not matter who said what about it, it would speak for itself. There would not be different groups arguing over what means what, even among those who believe in the same story book. The fact that even the people who follow the same religions, still can't agree on what means what, proves that it is not the "infallible" word of any "all knowing" god.
“To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticize and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.
It all points to the promotion of the idea that there should be a right not to be offended. But in my view the right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended. The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed because one in my view represents openness - and the other represents oppression” ~ Rowan Atkinson
Well, it's not so much religion itself, as there are a lot of other topics that can work people into that same fervor (politics for example, though that is almost the same thing in many people's case). If you challenge anyone's fundamental world view it can get to that point.
Though the reason our main three religions are so bad with it these days is because, doubt is the biggest crime you can commit in them. In fact, in X-ianity, doubting the holy spirit is the one 'crime' for which you can never be forgiven, no matter what you do. If you ever, even once, doubt the holy spirit, even for a moment, you are doomed to hell for eternity. The single worst thing you can ever do, rational thought, critical thinking. All criticisms are taken better if they come from within, but in this case, that is the one thing they are not allowed to criticize either. You also have the fact that someone has based their life on this crazy stuff, and realizing that it is, in fact, crazy stuff, and they wasted their time at best, or committed horrible acts on people in the name of religion, is too much for them to take. They are afraid, and fear and panic can cause people to do really bad things.
We (those of us into the scientific method) all know that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, but since they have no proof, they need other 'extraordinary' means of defense, you can only stick your fingers in your ears and yell 'lalalala' for so long... It (lashing out, aggression) is part of the natural 'defense mechanism' (level 2), they also like to use projection quite a bit (level 1), just look how often the x-ians claim they are being persecuted while at the same time, denying others the same rights that they enjoy to others. Some of them reach level 3, and try to rationalize what they believe and what they have done, and fewer still reach level 4, where they accept reality, many of them are likely members here. ;) Unfortunately, if you could reason with most religious people, then we would not have religious people. It can be fun to look over that list, and keep those levels in mind when you watch the way people react to things. You can really see where people are coming from some times.
The only difference between a religion and a cult is the number of followers, and if the founder is alive.