Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Can I add anything . . .

. . . to the discussion about the Charlie Hebdo murders?

Maybe a little. Many in the commentariat are opining along the lines that while obviously murder is not the answer, it's wrong to offend people's religious beliefs so don't do it. These include Bill Donohue of a wingnut Catholic organization and others, as discussed here by Jonathan Chait.

I would actually go a bit beyond Chait. Yes, we all have a right to commit blasphemy and the correct response to offense is to talk back, not commit violence. However, you don't have to draw crude and raunchy caricatures in order to offend the pious. All you have to do is aver that their beliefs are false. Religious people demand "respect" for their beliefs -- not for their persons, mind you, which I fully endorse, but for their beliefs.

I don't respect beliefs I consider nonsensical. I'm pretty sure Bill Donohue doesn't think I should respect the beliefs of flat-earthers. I don't know offhand his position on climate change or vaccination, but presumably he thinks I'm allowed to debate those subjects. But why should I respect his nonsensical belief that because a snake convinced a woman to eat a piece of fruit thousands of years ago, we were all tainted by sin until God impregnated a woman with a baby who was also himself and then when the guy grew up had him tortured to death, even though the whole point is he didn't die, thereby removing the taint and allowing people who believe this crap to live in bliss forever while everybody else is eternally tortured?

I don't respect that, it's utterly preposterous, transparently false and internally contradictory. And yes, I'm allowed to say that in public and I'd say it to his face if he were here. So there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about giving the Streisand Effect a little boost?
If a very large number of communication outlets - magazines, TV stations, blogs, etc. - promised that the next time violence is perpetrated for a reason like this, they will display the offending images as prominently as possible at least until the offenders turn themselves in. These actions would then guarantee that almost everyone would see it.
There would be no way they could stop it; they couldn't possibly attack more than a miniscule portion of these sites, and if they tried they would just make things worse.
I think this would be sublimely poetic justice.