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'm no psychologist, so I don't have a precise or expert answer for you as to why people choose to be offended about WORDS. Words can be true or false or have any number of gray-area values. They can be associated with personal feelings of shame or inadequacy, and therewith may come the reactions that some people have to words. For someone who sufficiently knows and owns himself, however, any attempt at insult or offense is likely going to fall on its face.
Say someone wants to accuse my mother of being a whore. I KNOW who and what my mother is as well as what she is NOT, and my response to such a person is simple: I blow them off. Maybe they want to call me a cocksucker. Whether I am or not, again, all we're dealing with are WORDS here, and spurious words such as those are not worthy of my attention. People who use these words and others are looking to exert power over another, and/or elicit a reaction. Understanding this allows me to easily frustrate their efforts by simply not giving them what they want. My sense is that it's lack of knowledge and/or fear of the truth of an assertion, or an over-inflation of the importance or supposed truth of someone else's words are what give rise to the reactions we see in some people.
All of this comes back to the whole issue of self-ownership and self-knowledge, two very key qualities to my own philosophy of life (if I can be said to have such a thing!). A person who knows and understands his or her own inner workings and motivations is far less likely to be rattled by expletives or epithets. That person may note a threat couched in such words and prepare to react based on that input, but the words themselves continue to have only the impact the listener chooses to give them.
Now ... on the OTHER hand, what about a believer who has his beliefs disparaged by one such as us? How sure is that person in his beliefs? How learned is he in their background? Are we dealing with a William Lane Craig here or just some church-goer who swallows whole what he is taught, without a more wide-ranging understanding of those teachings?
A key word here is "insecurity." By definition, a theist's beliefs are not easily verified or objectively supported, if they are supported at all (and we know they aren't!). It's possible that this person has grown up in an environment which was insulated from outside opinions and discouraged critical thought. When confronted by arguments which challenge what he's been taught, there may be a number of possible responses. A well-schooled theist may attempt to defend his beliefs, using his holy book or the teachings of a more knowledgeable follower, such as WLC or one of his ilk. OR ... feeling that such teachings should be beyond question or analysis, they may insist that those teachings have government protection from such challenges ... which leaves us where we are.
As one respondent to the Center for Inquiry's Blasphemy Contest suggested:
The reason religious beliefs need protection from ridicule is that they are ridiculous.
Maybe we need a new term, like attacking race is racism, attacking faith could be called faithism.
Unlike race, which cannot be changed and is real, faith can be changed and faith can be delusional and fraudulent (as most religions are).
Thus, I believe people can be condemned for being racist.
Though, people can be commended and given credit for being faithist, where the faith has been shown as detrimental to society and human progress.
So Faithism against Christianity and Islam should be commended, as they are both detrimental to society.
Aye M8z! :-D
great we're public enemy #1~