The Religious Right to Blaspheme

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Post by Guest on Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:06 pm

The BBC poll for the Today programme on Muslim attitudes to free speech and blasphemy has done the debate a disservice - for it has framed the issue as a battle between religious and secular groups. In fact, it is as much an internal religious struggle, and across all faiths, with the battle being between fundamentalists and progressives within each one.
Freedom of speech means a healthy and transparent society, while the opposite is true: every tyrannical ruler or despotic regime seeks to restrict it. Surprisingly, it has a religious history, originating with the Bible and the Hebrew prophets whose mission was to protest against contemporary evils.

Isaiah attacks not only the monarchy for exceeding its authority (1.23) but also the corruption of the religious hierarchy (1.11-15). Amos railed against the malpractices of the business community who grew rich at the expense of weaker members of society (8. 4-6)
Moreover, some of the prophets went in for religious satire too: Isaiah mocks those who cut down a log of wood, use half for firewood and the other half to carve a god to be worshipped (44.14). Elijah advises followers of the pagan god Baal - who is not answering their prayers - to pray louder as he might be sitting on the toilet (I Kings 18.27).

Religious satire causes offence, but it is one person's right to express their view and another person's right to express that they are offended. Sadly, there are plenty of religious targets that are worth hitting - from paedophile priests to bloodthirsty imams to rogue rabbis.
It is true that religious satire can become merely a vehicle for ridicule, without any moral agenda. That is regrettable, upsetting people for no reason is unpleasant, but if there is nothing in it of substance, then it quickly falls flat, and just reflects badly on the person who uttered it. There are many jokes or cartoons that may show bad taste - but they are unfortunate side-effects of having freedom of expression, and should not be grounds for taking away that freedom.

Alongside the principle of free speech, there are also questions of practicality. Can we decide whom it is legitimate to criticise and whom not to criticise? There are faiths today which many would consider totally bizarre, such as Scientology, with its belief in space aliens who come to earth - or the Mormons with their gold tablets supposedly dug up in New York in the 1820s - which they hold sacred; should they be exempt from laughter? They would say so.
But if we exempt one, we have to exempt all, for blasphemy is in the ear of the hearer, and one person's sanctity is another person's idiocy; the cost of honouring all such views would be restricting free speech, and that is a cost too high. That still leaves those offended with several options as to how to react: argue back if they disagree, or sue if they think it libellous, or ignore if they think it spurious.
Religion cannot claim any special privilege or any unique exemption; it has to live with the possibility of being blasphemed, not just because of the principle of free speech, but in terms of its own self-respect.

What does it say about a faith if feels it cannot stand-up to satire or criticism - is its God of the universe so fragile that he needs protection? Can an entire faith system be brought crashing down by newspaper columns or cartoons? How insecure must those believers be if they think that centuries of tradition can be blown away in a gale of laughter.
A world without religious criticism - including what some consider blasphemy - would be a world that never progressed, and stagnated like still water that has grown putrid. That is not a religious vision and the right to speak out should be defended by all God-fearers.


http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jonathan-romain/right-to-blaspheme_b_6767082.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

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Post by Eilzel on Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:52 am

Honestly didge there seems to be a concerted effort by some (mostly liberals sadly) to make secularism seem like a bigoted ideal mainly aimed at Islam. Since atheism bece mainstream we've heard people from Popes, Archbishops, Prince Charles and various Muslim speakers talk about people of faith coming together against the rise of secularism. With the increasing threat of Islamic extremism its little surprise some Muslims would seek to ally themselves with Christians who see their declining numbers as being under attack by secularists.

Turning opinion against the faithless is a sickening distraction from REAL religious poison which some naive, short sighted liberals and lapping up all too easily under the guise of fighting 'Islamophobia'.

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:35 am

Eilzel wrote:Honestly didge there seems to be a concerted effort by some (mostly liberals sadly) to make secularism seem like a bigoted ideal mainly aimed at Islam. Since atheism bece mainstream we've heard people from Popes, Archbishops, Prince Charles and various Muslim speakers talk about people of faith coming together against the rise of secularism. With the increasing threat of Islamic extremism its little surprise some Muslims would seek to ally themselves with Christians who see their declining numbers as being under attack by secularists.

Turning opinion against the faithless is a sickening distraction from REAL religious poison which some naive, short sighted liberals and lapping up all too easily under the guise of fighting 'Islamophobia'.

They are not Liberals Eilzel not in any shape or form because they do not back Liberal ideals

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:21 am

Interesting to hear about the "freedom of speech" of the ancient Hebrews.

Why do I suspect it only went so far? ...

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Post by Eilzel on Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:11 am

Didge, that's the contradiction, they want to accomodate every religious view but neglect the fact any religion taken at its scriptural word is in conflict with liberalism.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:16 am

Eilzel wrote:Didge, that's the contradiction, they want to accomodate every religious view but neglect the fact any religion taken at its scriptural word is in conflict with liberalism.

Of course, but hardly anyone takes that crap literally. How many people do more than pay lip-service to religious beliefs anymore?

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:40 am

Eilzel wrote:Didge, that's the contradiction, they want to accomodate every religious view but neglect the fact any religion taken at its scriptural word is in conflict with liberalism.

Yes they want to accomadate all bad points in religion because some good can be found.
It is the worst contradiction and shows why they are not Liberals and make a mockery of Liberalism.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:43 am

Brasidas wrote:
Eilzel wrote:Didge, that's the contradiction, they want to accomodate every religious view but neglect the fact any religion taken at its scriptural word is in conflict with liberalism.

Yes they want to accomadate all bad points in religion because some good can be found.
It is the worst contradiction and shows why they are not Liberals and make a mockery of Liberalism.

OK, I respect you, but right now you're talking out of your ass. EVERYTHING in this world comes with good and bad elements, for Pete's sake.

Is this some long-con windup you're on or something? Or have you just gone full retard?

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:47 am

Ben_Reilly wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Yes they want to accomadate all bad points in religion because some good can be found.
It is the worst contradiction and shows why they are not Liberals and make a mockery of Liberalism.

OK, I respect you, but right now you're talking out of your ass. EVERYTHING in this world comes with good and bad elements, for Pete's sake.

Is this some long-con windup you're on or something? Or have you just gone full retard?

Now we have intolerance, that is not a liberal view.
You keep backing my point.
My view is to challenge bad ideas, you though wish to protect them based off some good points in a religion.
That is not only illogical but a complete contradiction.
This is no windup this is about how your views defend bad ideas based off some good ones.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:52 am

Brasidas wrote:
Ben_Reilly wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Yes they want to accomadate all bad points in religion because some good can be found.
It is the worst contradiction and shows why they are not Liberals and make a mockery of Liberalism.

OK, I respect you, but right now you're talking out of your ass. EVERYTHING in this world comes with good and bad elements, for Pete's sake.

Is this some long-con windup you're on or something? Or have you just gone full retard?

Now we have intolerance, that is not a liberal view.
You keep backing my point.
My view is to challenge bad ideas, you though wish to protect them based off some good points in a religion.
That is not only illogical but a complete contradiction.
This is no windup this is about how your views defend bad ideas based off some good ones.

But see, if we followed your insane troll logic of banishing everything that has a bad side, we would have to get rid of sex (venereal disease, premature orgasms) and pizza (anchovies).

You're actually a totalitarian, unable to live with anything with which you don't agree.

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:55 am

Ben_Reilly wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Now we have intolerance, that is not a liberal view.
You keep backing my point.
My view is to challenge bad ideas, you though wish to protect them based off some good points in a religion.
That is not only illogical but a complete contradiction.
This is no windup this is about how your views defend bad ideas based off some good ones.

But see, if we followed your insane troll logic of banishing everything that has a bad side, we would have to get rid of sex (venereal disease, premature orgasms) and pizza (anchovies).

You're actually a totalitarian, unable to live with anything with which you don't agree.

Now we see an example or religious insensitivities, where people cannot take criticism of trheir views  they now start calling posters trolls because their views differ and their views are challenged again being intolerant
I am not toltalitarian which shows you are being over sensitive and unable to take criticism
I never said anything about banishing but challenging bad ideas.
So I will await your apology for fabricating things I never said

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 am

I am going off to work Ben, if you cannot see you defend bad ideas from religion by protecting them from being challenged then you are not really an athesit and hardly can call yourself a Liberal.

How was slavery endorsed and backed in the past?
Religion.
How was racism?
Religion.
How was inequality of women?
Religion
How was inequality of homosexuality?
Religion

Why is it Ben in your own country the main argument against homosexuality comes from literal religious belief.
Are you saying that is a good idea?

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 am

Brasidas wrote:
Ben_Reilly wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Now we have intolerance, that is not a liberal view.
You keep backing my point.
My view is to challenge bad ideas, you though wish to protect them based off some good points in a religion.
That is not only illogical but a complete contradiction.
This is no windup this is about how your views defend bad ideas based off some good ones.

But see, if we followed your insane troll logic of banishing everything that has a bad side, we would have to get rid of sex (venereal disease, premature orgasms) and pizza (anchovies).

You're actually a totalitarian, unable to live with anything with which you don't agree.

Now we see an example or religious insensitivities, where people cannot take criticism of trheir views  they now start calling posters trolls because their views differ and their views are challenged again being intolerant
I am not toltalitarian which shows you are being over sensitive and unable to take criticism
I never said anything about banishing but challenging bad ideas.
So I will await your apology for fabricating things I never said

"Insane troll logic" is actually a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite shows. I just like the phrase, not calling you a troll.

I am totally tolerant of your disagreement with me, Bras -- it's what makes the world go 'round. But I'll debate you, because it's interesting and fun, and gives me the chance to show off my devastating wit clown clown clown

If you can't take the downside with the upside to the point of screaming at everything you disagree with, though, I'd call that a totalitarian.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:03 am

P.S. -- the answer to ISIS is not Atheist ISIS.

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:05 am

Ben_Reilly wrote:
Brasidas wrote:

Now we see an example or religious insensitivities, where people cannot take criticism of trheir views  they now start calling posters trolls because their views differ and their views are challenged again being intolerant
I am not toltalitarian which shows you are being over sensitive and unable to take criticism
I never said anything about banishing but challenging bad ideas.
So I will await your apology for fabricating things I never said

"Insane troll logic" is actually a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite shows. I just like the phrase, not calling you a troll.

I am totally tolerant of your disagreement with me, Bras -- it's what makes the world go 'round. But I'll debate you, because it's interesting and fun, and gives me the chance to show off my devastating wit clown clown clown

If you can't take the downside with the upside to the point of screaming at everything you disagree with, though, I'd call that a totalitarian.


Now you are acting like a child because your views are challen ged which is funny enough what most religious people do.
Sorry grow up if you wish to continue this debate, because clearly you have lost the plot with your inane childish insults.
This is the problem with some of the left like you where you are happy to bash right wing people and Christians as you do often buit shy away from being critical of others.
I suggest you learn to grow up when engaging in a debate because clearly you cannot take criticism which is not good for someone who is a sports writer as I hate to thinbk what you would write about any criticism of your work.
You are about as witty as tasting a lemon.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:07 am

I haven't insulted you ... what, you mind being called a totalitarian or something? Sheez. I must be too used to being a newspaper editor ...

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:13 am

OK, if I have to be totally straightforward and no-fun-allowed about this:

I don't support anything harmful, oppressive or backward done in the name of any god or gods. Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, the FSM, anything. (And may Richard Dawkins strike me down if I'm lying.) Nor do I think that any supernatural belief is warranted or rational.

I do, however, support everyone's right to believe what they believe. I will try-to-persuade- the heck out of you, but I physically recoil at the notion of forcing anything on anyone unless it's punishment for a wrong-doer.

Fuck, you've siphoned all the humor out of me. Thanks ...

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Post by Eilzel on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:18 am

No one is asking for an atheist ISIS, which seems to be the point that is getting missed and why I stress the difference between atheist and religious fundamentalism.

The MOST Dawkins and others like myself and didge aak for, is that religion be open to criticism and mockery- what is so bad about that?

Btw, if the extent of IS fundentalism was cartoons and inflamatory speeches about non Muslims I doubt anyone would be that upset- but it isn't, because Islamic fundamentalism is NOTHING like atheist fundamentalism.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:55 am

Eilzel wrote:No one is asking for an atheist ISIS, which seems to be the point that is getting missed and why I stress the difference between atheist and religious fundamentalism.

The MOST Dawkins and others like myself and didge aak for, is that religion be open to criticism and mockery- what is so bad about that?

Btw, if the extent of IS fundentalism was cartoons and inflamatory speeches about non Muslims I doubt anyone would be that upset- but it isn't, because Islamic fundamentalism is NOTHING like atheist fundamentalism.

Of course I agree. I'm just saying that the right to one's own beliefs is fundamental, and that in my view, we'd be closer to a peaceful society by attacking violence rather than any belief that some person or group might use to justify it.

There has to be a difference between the type of religious person who "prays" for people living the way they don't want and the type who bombs them, and I don't think that difference has anything to do with the actual belief system. I like to play the thought game of "there's two kinds of people in this world." The idea itself is stupid, but it's interesting to think about what you'd choose as the dividing line if you could only designate two types of people. For me, the best answer to that would be, those who can intentionally hurt other people and those who can't/won't, because we see that divide in every culture.

For Christ's sake ( Smile ) I'm not trying to justify any kind of superstition; I'm just saying that a lot of people have them and there's nothing that will change that quickly. I had someone who completely disagreed with me back when I was about 15 or so, and she said things then that I didn't realize were true until years or decades later. I finally got around to considering them on their own merit and realized she was right, but the key to that for me was, she didn't force the ideas on me in a way that felt to me like she was battering me with them; she just suggested it. It led me to believe that the non-confrontational approach is infinitely better. It might take longer, but when you're presented an idea in a non-confrontational way, you allow yourself to think about it more, since you don't see it as an attack on your personal identity.

At least that's my experience; I'm sure it's different for others.

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:56 am

Ben_Reilly wrote:OK, if I have to be totally straightforward and no-fun-allowed about this:

I don't support anything harmful, oppressive or backward done in the name of any god or gods. Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, the FSM, anything. (And may Richard Dawkins strike me down if I'm lying.) Nor do I think that any supernatural belief is warranted or rational.

I do, however, support everyone's right to believe what they believe. I will try-to-persuade- the heck out of you, but I physically recoil at the notion of forcing anything on anyone unless it's punishment for a wrong-doer.

Fuck, you've siphoned all the humor out of me. Thanks ...

I am glad I have made you sit up and start to pay attention.
Not every thing is about fun and to come out with crap saying Totalitariaism is ab usrd and silly beyond belief because people haveing fighting for years to have laws to protect people from discrmination that came from bad ideas in religion.
Again not once have I asked you to force anything on anyone again you invent things not even said.
The fact is around the world there is plenty of religious bad ideas and you are not challenging.
You certainly challenging bad political ideas  or even bad Christian ideas, but when it comes to Muslims it seems physically impossible to you Ben and why? Becuase they are coming under criticism you fear you will be seen as Islamophobic which is nonsense.
Ideas in Islam should be challeneged.
So I am not concerned what people believe, but if any ideas they have clash with the well being and equality of others I am certainly going to challenge them as you should to.

In fact i am going to start a thread on good and bad ideas in religion which will give you a chance to show if there is many.
My view is there is very few good ideas in religion.
Stop taking everything personnally. This was done to make you sit up and listen when you were not taking the debate seriously.
Now at last I have your attention.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:01 am

You didn't make me pay attention, Bras, you exasperated me to the point that I felt I had to make everything simple and unable to be twisted into anything else.

Not everything is about fun, but I'm pretty sure the Internet doesn't just have to be Serious Business.

I will criticize any Muslim who does something wrong, but at the same time, I'll try to remember that most of them don't, just like most Christians are ordinary decent folk, flawed but with good-enough hearts.

And, I'm not taking anything personally; I just get weary of the round-and-round crap with no end in sight Smile

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:05 am

Ben_Reilly wrote:
Eilzel wrote:No one is asking for an atheist ISIS, which seems to be the point that is getting missed and why I stress the difference between atheist and religious fundamentalism.

The MOST Dawkins and others like myself and didge aak for, is that religion be open to criticism and mockery- what is so bad about that?

Btw, if the extent of IS fundentalism was cartoons and inflamatory speeches about non Muslims I doubt anyone would be that upset- but it isn't, because Islamic fundamentalism is NOTHING like atheist fundamentalism.

Of course I agree. I'm just saying that the right to one's own beliefs is fundamental, and that in my view, we'd be closer to a peaceful society by attacking violence rather than any belief that some person or group might use to justify it.

There has to be a difference between the type of religious person who "prays" for people living the way they don't want and the type who bombs them, and I don't think that difference has anything to do with the actual belief system. I like to play the thought game of "there's two kinds of people in this world." The idea itself is stupid, but it's interesting to think about what you'd choose as the dividing line if you could only designate two types of people. For me, the best answer to that would be, those who can intentionally hurt other people and those who can't/won't, because we see that divide in every culture.

For Christ's sake ( Smile ) I'm not trying to justify any kind of superstition; I'm just saying that a lot of people have them and there's nothing that will change that quickly. I had someone who completely disagreed with me back when I was about 15 or so, and she said things then that I didn't realize were true until years or decades later. I finally got around to considering them on their own merit and realized she was right, but the key to that for me was, she didn't force the ideas on me in a way that felt to me like she was battering me with them; she just suggested it. It led me to believe that the non-confrontational approach is infinitely better. It might take longer, but when you're presented an idea in a non-confrontational way, you allow yourself to think about it more, since you don't see it as an attack on your personal identity.

At least that's my experience; I'm sure it's different for others.


So you are saying there is no point like many people have died over obtaining freedom from religious ideas.
Nobody is talking about enforcing but challenging and changing bad ideas.
Your view would just basically keep the status quo and countless people would continue to suffer persecution in lands that hold laws based on religious beliefs. Many religious people do have different views on their faiths, but many of these views are based on selfish bad ideas, ones thst seek to reqrd themselevs for deeds that are enticed to do out of view of reward. In other words they are not done from the heart but done in order through a belief this will save them from suffering. That to me is a very bad idea, when the good should come from the heart and not out of fear.
The fact is such bad ideas need to be challenged and the way to challenged them is to show they are bad ideas, which means being critical of such views or do you want people to continue to grow up thinking they are empowered over women b ecause of some myth they take as law?
Or do you wish to challenge such a bad idea?

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:16 am

Ben_Reilly wrote:You didn't make me pay attention, Bras, you exasperated me to the point that I felt I had to make everything simple and unable to be twisted into anything else.

Not everything is about fun, but I'm pretty sure the Internet doesn't just have to be Serious Business.

I will criticize any Muslim who does something wrong, but at the same time, I'll try to remember that most of them don't, just like most Christians are ordinary decent folk, flawed but with good-enough hearts.

And, I'm not taking anything personally; I just get weary of the round-and-round crap with no end in sight Smile


This is why problems still exist because you see it as crap and really are at heart not a liberal as I said.
Fair enough Ben that you do not want to challenge bad ideas, I will remember the next time you do challenge a bad idea and show up your hypocrisy on this to prove further your double standards on this.
If you want to shy away from challenging bad ideas, then you make them acceptable and yet you fail to see that.
Shame really as you are a nice bloke but to afraid to speak out things that affect so many people today.

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