Insufficient for joy

I spent too many minutes today arguing with a very “spiritual” person who is a vocal supporter of Raif Badawi on Facebook but who keeps putting her support in inappropriately “spiritual” terms. Since it’s one version of “spirituality” that is so determined to keep torturing him, I think that’s inappropriate at best.

I especially think it’s inappropriate to talk about “joy” in response to another Friday with no flogging, as she does every week. That’s not joyful. It’s a brief partial respite for Ensaf and their children, I hope, but it can’t very well be joyful when he could still be flogged next Friday and every Friday after that until all the remaining 950 lashes have been dealt out. It’s not an occasion for a party, not when things are this grim.

But I wish I hadn’t said anything to her, because her response was to ask Ensaf about it. Sigh. Because Ensaf has nothing better to worry about than this person on Facebook.

Joy is for when he gets out of prison and gets on the plane.


  1. iknklast says

    Joy is a word thrown around easily by my liberal Christian friends. I’m not sure they know what it means.

  2. says

    Oh, is it? Huh. I guess it has some special religious heft of some sort. But jeeeeeez, people, it’s religion that is persecuting Raif, and he’s not religious himself, so keep it to yourself already.

    She insisted that “joy” also means optimism and hope. No it doesn’t.

  3. says

    Oh, is it? Huh. I guess it has some special religious heft of some sort.

    Oh, yes, the religious love “joy.” It’s the opposite of “pleasure,” which is all brutish and animalistic and superficial. “Joy” is transcendent, exalted, profound, ideal. (Lest anyone think emotions or our concepts of them are exempt from hierarchical thinking.)

    but this is fun.

  4. iknklast says

    Thanks, SC. That explains how my friends can tell me I have no joy in my life because I’m an atheist. They have a different meaning of joy than I do. And here I thought the fact that I was eager to get up in the morning and go out and greet another day would be enough to be joy. Silly me. I have pleasure. I have no joy.

    Should I go stick my head in the oven now? (Don’t worry, my oven is electric.)

  5. screechymonkey says

    I think it’s one of those whatever-you-need-it-to-mean, atheists-just-don’t-understand words like “grace.”

  6. RJW says

    This atheist doesn’t understand words like ‘spiritual’ either–it probably just means ‘superstitious’.

  7. Al Dente says

    iknklast @4

    hey have a different meaning of joy than I do.

    The Humpty Dumpty definition of joy.

  8. theobromine says

    Agreed: Joy is when Raif Badawi gets on the plane, or even better, gets off the plane in Montreal to meet Ensaf and the kids. “Relief” might be a better description* for the response to the postponement of flogging – everyone is relieved that the Saudi government is, at least for this specific issue, behaving in a more reasonable manner than one might expect. But the Sword of Damocles is still hanging over Raif (and his family) until he is freed.

    *and if religious people insist on making it religious, they could call it “blessed relief”.

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