I was reading through some posts at my local Atheist web site, from which I am banned, and came across this interesting article.
To look at this personally, I have no views on blasphemy, if somebody doesn't want me to blaspheme, or draw Mohamed, because they would feel offended by it, I would then not blaspheme, nor would I draw Mohamed. (please feel free to tell me not drawing Mohamed is offensive to you if you like:)
I then looked at the UN's view on the death penalty. (I thought about a compromise, get rid of the death penalty first, and then I'd agree to the blasphemy law, but that would be a stupid idea, the death penalty should be abolished regardless)
I have no problem with not committing blasphemy, I think it's a good personal choice to never commit blasphemy, but to make an international law out of it is a little scary. The main reason why it is scary is because; what is offensive to one person may not be offensive to another. What one person considers blasphemous may not be considered blasphemous by another. This law can only ever be judged by using personal opinion, it can never be judged objectively in any way.
Any opinions out there? Or problems with my views on the subject?
I take a view 180 degrees opposite. Freedom of speech does not contain a proviso that says one has the right not to be offended. To insert something as such as an "you can't offend someone" clause into a fundamental right to express ideas is an anathema to the entire concept of free speech.
Political discourse is rife with offending speech. Yet, without it, you end up with a dictatorship of either a theocracy, or a "cult of personality" - see Mao, Stalin, Sadaam Hussein, Muammar Qadaffi, and others. If I tell someone I think their ideas regarding economics, politics, art or literature is completely wrong and criticize it, no one would think of punishing me for it. The listener has as much right to express his or her contrary opinion to me, regarding my positions. And, if either one of us are offended, well gee, ain't that just too bad. If not, you end up with the example of the Catholic Church prosecuting Galileo for claiming the earth is in a heliocentric solar system. So much for the advancement of human knowledge.
Blasphemy laws are a prime example of what is known as "prior restraint." That is, making sure someone, through threat of sanctions, may not express an idea. In no other area of discourse do we tell a person you may not utter those thoughts which are in your mind. Blasphemy is the prime example of what George Orwell wrote about in his novel 1984. Express disagreement with "Big Brother" and you are convicted of thought crime. That's what blasphemy is - a thought crime. And, while in my estimation, Muslims are the greatest theocratic enemies of free speech, Christians aren't far behind.
Total agreement. Those who are offended by Everyone Draw Mohammed Day or criticism against their favorite sacred cow can grow a thicker skin. Personally, I'm offended by the likes of Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Kenneth Copeland and who knows how many other christian jackanapes, never mind Ayatollah Khamenei and any number of islamic idiot children who would have their god and their prophet declared off-limits to scrutiny, criticism or mockery.
As I have said many times, if they don't like the heat, the door to the kitchen is THAT WAY. ====>
I don't think that freedom of speech is something that we can compromise on.
However, I do agree that blasphemy day is not appropriate, especially for atheists.
If blasphemy ever becomes illegal, then it will be time to open the floodgates.
Don't mean to be rude, Mark, but blasphemy is illegal in many countries. The ones you would normally think of, e.g. Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc., all have criminal sanctions against blasphemy. What you may not know is that blasphemy is also illegal in the following countries: Ireland, Germany, Finland, certain territories in Australia, Greece, Israel, Spain, and Switzerland, just to mention a few.
When nations within western civilization abrogate human freedom in favor of the threats of superstitious fanatics, you think it just might be time to open the floodgates?
can grow a thicker skin
if they don't like the heat, the door to the kitchen is THAT WAY. ====>
Growing thicker skin and learning how to walk away are pretty much the best answers to many of life's problems, in my mind also. And the thicker my skin gets the easier it is to walk away. Personally I see nothing offensive with drawing Mohamed, but I do see a lot wrong and offensive with killing people who do draw Mohamed. But I still wouldn't go out of my to draw Mohamed or blaspheme.
A couple of other things about this new global law are:
1. It is being made by a select few people and also being passed by a select few people, none of whom have been voted for by we the people. And many of whom we would not want to have as decision makers.
2. Currently if somebody blasphemes or draws Mohamed, we know as a fact, that some crazy guy may very well come and kill the blasphemer. So if this new global law is passed, will it increase the number of crazy people who feel they have a right to kill blasphemers, because the law will then be on the side of the crazy people.
So why make such a law? The vast majority of people who draw Mohamed don't draw Mohamed in order to blaspheme. (I mentioned this earlier, how blasphemy to one person is not blasphemy to another). The majority of people who draw Mohamed, do so as a protest for freedom of speech, and they do it in the face of violent intimidation. I'm beginning to think that this law is not only a little scary but also a little crazy. Crazy because it is siding with people who believe in violence as a means to have there own personal way.
I also hope such a law never comes to pass.
I was banned for calling somebody a liar, over the topic of vegetarianism. It's an extremely trivial incident, but being banned has its advantages. I found I could look at people from a completely different perspective and the topics of discussion become clearer. So ultimately it became a win/win situation.
my kinda blasphemy:
I Blaspheme religiously every day! Because I tell only the truth and the truth is that Theology is nothing more than pondering porkies. Jesus stole all his ideas from Buddhism and Confucianism which the same teachings half a millennium earlier. I call Islamic/ Judaic/ Christian God a severely malevolent, narcissistic megalomaniac, because that is exactly how the Bible really describes his/her/it's nature.
Anybody being absolutely honest about religion is a blasphemer.
I'd much rather be a blasphemer than a liar.
All theologians are devout liars, because all theology is based on nothing more than lies.
Examples of malevolence by God, Floods killing millions to get rid of a few dissenters, plague giving many thousands of inhabitants nothing more to eat than stewed locust (a delicacy in some places) to demonstrate power to a single king when splitting a rock near him with a bolt of lightning on command would have been sufficient. Narcissism, we must worship it!, Megalomania "I'm the one true God, alpha and omega". These are only for starters.
Even Satan killed far fewer people in the Bible: Deaths directly attributed to Satan (around 10), Deaths directly attributed to God's malevolence: Possibly Millions.
Though the Flood really never occurred, as it is an impossibility.
Nobody stops me from what I want to say.
I've said this multiple times before, but ... aaaah, what the hell, say it again:
Blasphemy is nothing but WORDS ... and words can only hurt where people enable those words and give them PERMISSION TO HURT. Blasphemy does NOT rise to the level of shouting "FIRE!!!" in a crowded theater and does not deserve any kind of special status, needing or requiring punitive action.
The problem has been that there are groups of people who have been taught to react as though blasphemy had such status. These are people who take their faith as fact, for whom Allah or Yahweh are real, their prophets and saviors were and are real. These people are indoctrinated past the point where fact, logic and reason have no impact. Around such people, caution is strongly suggested, because they cannot tolerate cognitive dissonance or even arguments against their position. There is neither nuance nor subtlety to their attitude or to their reaction to mockery or blasphemy. They will excise it from their midst by any means at their disposal, and they will feel fully justified in doing so. After all, their god told them to do so.
As such people frequently act en masse, so must we also act as a group. We must face them down with numbers, call them on their bullshit. Most of all, we must awaken those who seem to live in a Politically Correct world, where no cross words are said and one's feelings are hurt, those whose hearts bleed at the least provocation. We must inform such people that giving in to the religious absolutists amounts to letting the camel's nose into the tent, which will shortly be followed by his head, neck, hump and finally tail. There has to be an adult in the room, sufficiently empowered to say NO to the religious mob, and to encourage them, however unlikely it is to happen, to grow up and culture a thicker skin.
We can do this ... or we can give the inmates charge of the asylum.
How are things?
I was thinking about your statement:
Blasphemy is nothing but WORDS ... and words can only hurt where people enable those words and give them PERMISSION TO HURT.
What I sometimes try and do, for fun, with certain statements, is try and make the logic behind them universal.
Eg: If we change the word 'Blasphemy' with the 'N' word (ie: the racist word for black people), what would the effect be?
Firstly some non racist examples of the 'N' word:
When I look at these video clips, I see different interpretations of the 'N' word. Kramer's use of the 'N' word isn't so much about hating black people, it's more about making those particular African Americans feel bad and upset because they are making Kramer feel that way, it's more about revenge than racism. Dave Chappelle use of the 'N' word is analogous to person. Chris Rock's use is akin to White Trash (Bogan/Westy in Australia). And the teenage white girls use, is just teenagers ranting.
Then some other examples are:
The crazy people in these three examples are the types of people who use the 'N' word in a racist way. They use it out of pure hatred.
And comic relief.
Even though I have given a lot of different examples of how the 'N' word can be used and interpreted, ultimately if a non-black person uses it, it will more than likely be interpreted as racist. Feelings will be hurt. Emotions will kick in. Not by all people, but by those who are offended by the 'N' word.
I think the same emotional response happens when theists hear blasphemous remarks, the same feelings are also hurt. And again, not by all people, just those who are offended by blasphemy.
Finally, what I am trying to find here is a line. Where do we draw the line between freedom of expression and out-right offensive statements.
One last point: There are some important distinctions to be made between using the 'N' word and blasphemy.
1. Black people exist, God doesn't.
2. Racist words are almost always directed toward specific people, blasphemy is usually not directed towards specific people.
The above are just some fun thoughts I had.