Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why do we condone blasphemy?

I was born in 1960. Back then, blasphemy was limited to an occasional cursing. I suppose blasphemy became mainstream due to TV shows featuring comedians. Late 2013, Dutch liberals and socialists proposed to remove the 1932 penalty on blasphemy from Dutch law (NOS, Wiki). In Western countries, blasphemy is almost normal but why do we condone blasphemy?

The Dutch silence on the recent beheading of a French teacher might be partly related to our confusion on blasphemy. Deep down, we know that sarcastic blasphemous cartoons are wrong but liberal and socialist values tell us to condone such cartoons because of (i) separation of church and state, (ii) freedom of speech, and (iii) the 7 stages of Liberalism (eg, individualism). 

Nevertheless, cases like defamation and/or slander are liable in most civil courts. The main difference is that a deceased person can no longer object and file charges. It’s doubtful that any Western court would allow any natural person filing charges on behalf of a deity or a prophet

As a teenager, my brother and I were sent to our village church. Objecting was a waste a time. It took me decades to accept the fact that Jesus had actually existed. No church ever tells you that the Roman-Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus mentions Jesus as a – albeit minor – historical figure in one of the footnotes of his many history books on the Roman-Judean skirmishes.

Nowadays, everyone demands respect while few people give respect. The Islam and/or muslims often demand respect for their religion while denying respect to any other religion (of “non-believers”). Hence, it’s hard for me to accept muslim grievances on blasphemy. Nevertheless, I think, feel and believe that any blasphemy is wrong.

The freedom of speech is often confused with the freedom to insult. The freedom of religion is often confused with undermining the (secular) State. The right to an adequate standard of living is often challenged by the happy few. The freedom of fear is often challenged by the same governments, using fear as a tool to control their populations. 

I suppose it’s ultimately about human arrogance (eg, ideology) and ignorance (eg, history) that makes us condone blasphemy. However, blasphemy also implies giving an assault weapon to extreme believers, like the Political Islam, to wage a religious war. 

We should never forget the wise words by Greek philosopher Socrates (c.470-399 BC): “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” 

Blasphemous Rumours (1984) by Depeche Mode

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours 

But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour 

And when I die, I expect to find him laughing

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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