On blasphemy

Via Ophelia Benson at Butterflies and Wheels, the Archbishop of Bamberg has declared that religions deserve legal protection against scorn and derision – or laws against blasphemy.

I don’t generally blaspheme in daily life, simply because I can’t be bothered. However, I do not like the idea of somebody being arrested for insulting one particular god – I don’t see anyone being arrested or threatened for saying Thor doesn’t exist, nor the Greek deities. Blasphemy is an outmoded concept that doesn’t belong in the 21st Century – or other any time, for that matter. To go back to a previous post, why do the followers of any religion that involves the worship of an omnipotent god, that isn’t going to be hurt by a joking remark on the web or in meatspace, get so worked up when somebody makes said joke?

And of course, guess what happens if you give religion privileges like this? For starters, you get the Inquisition, or crusades and other “holy” wars. Or people trying to get society to use backward punishments like stoning for crimes such as adultery, or “exorcisms” that end up being lethal. And then there’s always counter-productive and ineffective policies like abstinence-only sex education – which would only work if the entire world suddenly became asexual. Why should it be a crime to point these out?

The Bamberg Archbishop doesn’t seem to realise that freedom of speech does not mean you can say whatever you like without fear of being criticised, especially if what you say makes no sense to somebody. Even more so if somebody is going to get hurt by what you’ve just said.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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