So what was it all about? It is the day when individuals and groups are encouraged to openly express their criticism of, or even disdain for religion, and was founded in 2009 by the Center for Inquiry.
Did the media pick it up? Yep …
- USA Today
Does it really matter? Yes it does.
“The point we’re trying to make is that we’re against restrictions on speech based purely on the possibility that some people might be offended, because if you go down that path there’s no end to it.” – Ronald Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry
Here are my examples of Blasphemy
Are you ready now? (WARNING: If you just happen to be religious, you better stop reading now. If you continue to read, then you face the risk of encountering some rather extreme examples of Blasphemy). OK, here we go …
- Jesus is not God, he was just an ordinary human and did not perform the claimed supernatural miracles.
- Muhammad is not a prophet.
- Allah is just a myth
Did I hear you say, “Gosh, that’s all rather tame”. Well yes, but it is also Blasphemy and would earn you a death sentence is some countries. Well come on now, did you expect me to salt it up with words such as “fuck” and “piss”? Some do, but doing so only underlines the impact.
What is truly insane is that there are anti-blasphemy laws throughout the world. In many parts of Europe and North America they have been overturned, although there are still anti-blasphemy laws in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Iceland, the Netherlands and San Marino. Then on top of all that there are also “religious insult” laws in 21 European nations.
What makes all this completely batty is that from the viewpoint of almost every religious belief, every other single variation of religious belief (or non-belief) is blasphemy, so how the heck can you enforce it without locking everybody up.
Finland has been the setting for a number of noteworthy blasphemy trials in the first decade of the 21st century. The Finnish linguist, political blogger Helsinki City Councellor and subsequent member of parliament Jussi Halla-aho was charged with “disturbing religious worship” because of internet posts in which he called Muhammad a pedophile, Halla-aho was fined €330. That is utterly insane because it is factually correct, the founder of Islam married a 9 year old. That, by our modern standards, makes him a pedophile (are they going to fine me now for stating a well documented fact). Believers claim him to be special and beyond criticism … why? We need to be free to throw a spotlight upon utterly insane beliefs and be free to criticise where appropriate.
People have rights, ideas don’t. Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. In stark contrast, nobody has the right to not be offended. If we are indeed to be protected from being offended, then where is my right not to be offended when folks claim that the scribblings from a 7th century pedophile is of supernatural origin.
Should we really care? Yes we should. In some countries today, blasphemy is punishable by death, such as in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, so unless you believe exactly what they believe and are prepared not to criticise their insane beliefs – you die.
Do you honestly think we should tolerate that?