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Blasphemy Day International!

Today, in case you weren’t aware, is Blasphemy Day. In the spirit of the campaign organized by the Center for Inquiry, and in solidarity with those folks that live in countries where rampant ideas have more rights than people (e.g.: Ireland, where a person can be put in jail for saying something insulting about an idea like “God”), I have the following to say, below the fold so those of you with tender sensibilities can opt out now.

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Still with me? Then you’re probably an atheist yourself, or you’re one of the people who don’t feel the need to defend yourselves against attacks on your faith. With that in mind, here’s what I have to say.

*ahem*

Fuck your gods.

All of them. Even Allah*.

None of the gods any of you have ever described, exist. Not Mithra, not Ganesh, not Wotan, not Thor, not Zeus, not Ra, not Poseidon, not Yahweh, not Allah, not Jesus, not Buddha. (Jesus and Buddha can be argued to have been men. They do not exist any longer, in any case.) And not whatever-god-you-think-I-left-out. Any god that even has the merest possibility of existing, can by necessity be nothing like the gods you guys have postulated. Not to put too fine a point on it, but: YOU. ARE. ALL. WRONG. Your hypotheses, as they were, have all failed. None of them exist, and anything that DOES exist, IF it does exist, would probably laugh at assholes like you for thinking what you do.

In Ireland, saying “God doesn’t exist” would cost you 25,000EU — enough to bankrupt most common folks, and enough therefore to land them in jail when they can’t pay the fine. Say it enough times and you could be in serious trouble. And yet, who are you hurting? They say “blasphemy is a victimless crime” (you know, since those gods don’t exist and all), so nobody’s being hurt, right? Well, obviously, some asshat theists think that any criticism levelled at their religion or what their religion can make people do, is actually levelled at THEM.

Take, for instance, my good friend personal albatross minus the good luck, Zdenny**, whom I can’t actually ban for fear of provoking him to some form of violence, but I can silence such that his words annoy only me. In the ever-so-provocative Hermit’s video I posted recently, David Fleecewood asserts that evangelical Christians, with their death-cult armageddon new-world-order conspiracy theory mentality, their dead certainty that the Earth is 6000 years old, and their inability to realize that we’re doing damage to the only Earth that can sustain us (by virtue of the previous two assertions), are guilty of systemically harming our species. He is absolutely correct. People, acting in the name of this flawed idea, are damaging our species and its ability to continue living on this rock for any length of time, and therefore that religion, and other religions like it, should be ended somehow. Zdenny however misinterprets every single sentence as “kill the Christians before they kill us“.

Forget the fact that David was talking about killing an idea, rather than the people that adhere to it. Forget the fact that when Pythagoras advanced that the Earth could be round, proponents of the idea weren’t summarily rounding out and killing the flat-earthers. Forget that not a drop of blood has ever been shed over evolution, except perhaps by theists trying to squelch proponents of the idea or by people who later blamed some stupid eugenics idea that has nothing to do with the mechanistic explanation for diversity of life. Forget also the fact that the Crusades were entirely about killing all the proponents of Islam so that, eventually, Christianity might one day conquest the globe by the sword.

I can almost understand theists’ drive to make blasphemy illegal. They have so integrated their deity into their personhood that anyone who says “God isn’t real” is by extension doing tangible damage to religious people’s personhood by making them either defend their ideas to criticism properly, or actually think about their religion for once in their wretched lives. Thus, they need to insulate themselves from ever having to do such questioning, or such defending, because, you know, both of those involve THINKING about their religion, and we all know how damaging thought can be to dogmatically held belief.

That’s not to say that I agree with their drive to classify blasphemy as hate speech, nor others’ drive to classify hate speech as a hate crime. Hate speech is perfectly allowed, unless and until it is a direct incitement to violence or criminal activity (or indirect — I’d count “would no-one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” as an incitement to murder, as much as I would “God hates fags and wants them dead”, as much as I would “you must kill Christians before they kill you”). However, pointing out others’ hateful, violent or otherwise evil activity is most certainly not an incitement toward violence. Nor is pointing out how certain ideas can lead to that particular type of hateful activity. For instance, if only blasphemous speech were punished but not other types of hate speech, stuff like this video would be perfectly acceptable…

…while retorting “no, God doesn’t believe any of those things because he doesn’t exist, your ideas are stupid and wrong, and you are encouraging hate by repeating them,” would land you in jail.

Think about that — he’d be free to roam around telling people that irreligion leads to eating babies, while you’d be in jail for having a reasonable position. Where’s the justice in that?

That’s not even to mention any of the legal complications stemming from this. What if I claimed it was blasphemy that the guy in line in front of me at A&W put pickles on his burger? Would A&W have to immediately stop putting on pickles by default? How many people would it take complaining about it before A&W put a stop to the practice? Or, what would happen if atheism were somehow officially recognized as a religion, like so many theists keep suggesting it is? Who would win in a case of blasphemy vs blasphemy when someone said “there is no god, and people who think there is are blasphemers”, and a theist says “there IS a god, his name is Allah, and you’re a blasphemer for saying there isn’t”?

So, again, I ask — and this is not rhetorical — where is the justice in this?

Dan J, who has earned the right to call me friend** and I hope to have earned that right reeciprocally, has a hell of a lot more on this topic over at Relatively Unrelated, where he discusses some of the finer points regarding the difference between hate speech, obscenity, unprotected speech, and blasphemy, and a number of tangential issues in much greater depth than I’ve managed here. I strongly encourage you to go check it out, because he’s done yet another bang-up job. And he includes a short list of blasphemous phrases against a number of gods which is nothing short of sacrelicious.

* To those of you who think atheists are afraid of being killed by fringe Muslims — well, we are, but no less afraid of being killed by fringe anything-elses. The only disclaimer I will put on this is a simple plea. Please don’t kill me just because I’ve informed you that your god is a fairy tale and you have a need to shoot the messenger. Murder is wrong, whether it’s the murder of someone that agrees with your epistemological views or someone that doesn’t.

** Psst, Zdenny — need I remind you once more that when I say “you are not my friend”, that also means you can’t refer to me as your friend? Thanks for your links though — I mean, how else would Daniel M ever know to show up and proselytize at me if not for you?

Comments

  1. says

    I never knew Daniel prior to his posting on your website. I find lots of other Christians by simply following the blogs of atheist! People who grew up Christian who don’t know the arguments for Christianity generally are bolster in their faith after meeting me.

    The arguments for Christianity are much stronger than the arguments against Christianity. In fact, the Bible predicted that the universe had a beginning, it predicted the order of creation which we know see in the fossils with water first, followed by fish, birds, mammals and finally man. In addition, the Bible records an atmosphere change which all scientist now believe to be true.

    When I go to churches, I never hear the hate speech that I have seen on your post today. Your anger really runs deep which can be dangerous so be careful. I personally am a little nervous about Muslims and Atheist; however, the best way to keep them from becoming violent is simply by talking with them and letting them know you love them. I pray for you often!

    When you know the love of God, you become a part of the life of God forever. You were designed to have a relationship with God!

    Say hi to Jody. I look forward to her future post too. I can tell she is a deep thinker so I am sure she has some interesting thoughts to share too!

  2. says

    Today, Zdenny, I protect your free speech too, by allowing you to post here and, yet again, COMPLETELY MISS THE POINT. Saying nasty things about your god, or any of your other ideas, is fine. Insulting you personally is fine too. Encouraging violence against you, dehumanizing you, or suggesting you should die for some perceived difference, is not.

    It is not hate speech when someone says your ideas are stupid. Your ideas do not deserve special protection under the law. Otherwise I could call you a blasphemer for saying what you just said about the Bible and the order of creation (since you’ve gotten it mostly wrong anyway).

    Additionally, for your information, Jodi is the one person who’s consistently told me I should just ban you and be done with your insipid theologizing once and for all; despite her being the most tolerant and happy person I know generally, and nowhere near as “strident” about fighting with you assholes as I am. It’s good that you can’t spell her name, because you’re not fit to utter it.

  3. says

    Once again, unsurprisingly, ZDENNY doesn’t get it. He’s actually so laughable in his arguments that I refuse to even take the time to refute his willful ignorance.

    But tell us one thing, please, ZDENNY. What is “hate speech”?

  4. Miranda says

    I really wish I could have these kind of debates in person. Things I would like to say but don’t really want to type.

    Anyway, just typing here to say Hi since it’s the only way I can get a hold of you. Seeing how you’re doing and how the plans are coming along. I read a book recently that I thought you would like, very steam punk. It’s called “Working for the Devil” (odd name to post in this particular section of your blog I know, purely considential, I swear.) Author’s name is Lillith Saintcrow. Anyway, thought you might like it if you haven’t already ready it, seemed up your ally.

  5. says

    Ah, Miranda! Hiya! By all means, jump into the fray if and only if you’re comfortable; you have some insight, I’m sure. I have a number of friends that are in-person-only debaters, it takes a special sort of stamina to debate about these things through filling text-boxes with words anyway.

    That does sound brilliant, Jodi and I are both very much into steampunk, as we’d discussed. Jodi’s getting a friend to do the invitations and another to do her dress; we still haven’t made pretty well any progress on my clothing though I have leads on a number of costume places that might work well. Other than that, the place is booked, the JP is ready, and our ceremony draft is done. And I’ve hardly had to lift a finger yet. :)

    (A fact that might get me yelled at later.)

  6. Miranda says

    I forgot to mention to you, my annual halloween party is Friday October 30th if you and Jodi are interested, i’d love to finally meet her!

  7. says

    Great post, Jason. I watched Blasphemy Day from the sidelines while wheezy and incoherent with asthma.

    “I can almost understand theists’ drive to make blasphemy illegal”… “actually think about their religion for once in their wretched lives.”

    This whole paragraph says it all. Most of the people I know who are offended haven’t looked that deeply into their beliefs. They share the same as their family, and when you say God is an imaginary crutch people need to grow up from, you’ve just insulted their beloved aunt or someone. Heart winning over head.

  8. says

    Thanks, Glendon. I appreciate your support. I don’t know that this is one of my better works, as I knocked it out in a few hours on getting a preview of Dan’s epic post, feeling obligated to flesh out my thoughts more than I’d originally planned.

    Murray, I hate to say it, but that might be a bit uncomfortable for us hermits. Well, mostly Jodi, but also me a good deal. We’re normally quite nervous about meeting a lot of new people all at once — remember how long it took Abby to convince me to go see you and meet all your friends? You know it wasn’t because of you that there was any kind of squeamishness — it was almost all about meeting a ton of new people all at once. It’s the same deal with Jodi, so there’s a lot of inertia. There’s a way better chance that the two of us could stop by and see you on a quieter day, when it’s just the two of you, honestly. Perhaps when we make our next trip to the city to go looking for costumes, we could meet up with you and make a day of it?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Jason, the Lousy Canuck. None of the gods any of you have ever described, exist. Not Mithra, not Ganesh, not Wotan, not Thor, not Zeus, not Ra, not Poseidon, not Yahweh, not Allah, not Jesus, not Buddha. (Jesus and Buddha can be argued to have been men. They do not exist any longer, in any case.) And not whatever-god-you-think-I-left-out. Any god that even has the merest possibility of existing, can by necessity be nothing like the gods you guys have postulated. Not to put too fine a point on it, but: YOU. ARE. ALL. WRONG. Your hypotheses, as they were, have all failed. None of them exist, and anything that DOES exist, IF it does exist, would probably laugh at assholes like you for thinking what you do. [...]

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