Blasphemy in a nutshell

Posted on May 17, 2009, under general, humour.

For reasons best understood by our Minister for Justice (who seems to be going it alone on this one) Ireland may shortly introduce a new offence of blasphemous libel. The Irish blogosphere, and twitter are both alight with incandescent disapproval.

I’m not entirely sure what to make of the proposal. I think it’s an amazingly dumb idea, not only for the straight-forward civil rights reasons, but also because I can’t see the courts or anybody else implementing it in the real world. It is political tokenism in its most bare, stupidest, form.

Normally, I’m not one to set out to offend people … live and let live, I say. But faced with only limited amount of time to safely go on the record on the topic, here’s my own summary of roughly where the major beliefs (that I’ve read enough about to have an opinion on) are in relation to each other:

Religions compared

Don’t take it too seriously … it’s just an approximate summary from my own personal musings. Though it’s not arbitrary, I can back it all up.

I do happen to think that it’s a lot more likely that aliens exist than, say … angels. Pantheism is less contradictory than atheism, because at least the former can ascribe the existence of the universe to “Um, magic” with a straight face. The Abrahamic religions naturally get progressively more insane, as they inherit myths and superstitions from each other. And Quakers, well, they just make the nicest cereals. Mormonism? see the Golden Plates.

Saying that a religion or belief is “bad” or “good” is nonsense. Christianity and Islam, for example, are brilliant wonderful positive movements for good. They encourage great values and positive work. But at the same time, they can be a force for harm. Major branches discourage life-saving devices like condoms and deny many rights to women. Hence the spread between both good, and evil. I’ve trended them more towards evil only because of the dark ages and the stifling effects on the progress of mankind.

Disclaimer:

Though it shouldn’t need to be said; the above is mainly humour. The categories are waaaaaay too broad. The comparison completely ignores any implicit value faith may have (for its own sake) and the scales are unscientific. Sanity or insanity shouldn’t be inferred upon any actual practitioners (Except maybe Richard Dawkins, who might be both non-contradictory and a little insane), these are just big rough averages.

If you’re happy with your beliefs, than I am happy for you. If you support the idea that blasphemy should be illegal, get a life.

16 Replies to "Blasphemy in a nutshell"

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Paul Jakma  on May 17, 2009

Out of curiosity, why do you consider Dawkins to be well-along the evil/harmful axis and insane?

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colmmacc  on May 17, 2009

I just don’t think he’s much help, he’s a bit too absolutist and prostlytising for me. Besides, this is blaphemy – can’t leave the hardcore atheists out.

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conall  on May 17, 2009

What about Creationists? They’re crazy enough to warrant their own category outside of Christianity

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conor  on May 17, 2009

I think that proposal is ridiculous. First of all religion should have absolutely nothing to do with the State. I have no problem with people believing in god but it really pisses me off when they try to force those beliefs on others.

By the way I think that Scientology should be waay down the bottom left! :-)

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colmmacc  on May 17, 2009

@Conall – If anything, Creationists are less contradictory than mainstream Christianity, they are a bit less arbitrary about which myths to follow.

@Conor – a few people have commented on Scientology’s relative sanity, but I see it like this; 1. at least it’s based on insane ramblings that are relatively recent, and first hand. The other religions are based on second and third hand accounts from millenia ago 2. it’s mostly about making money.

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Ben Hyde  on May 17, 2009

Needs more animal companions!

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Paul Jakma  on May 17, 2009

Colm,

Firstly, you’ve misclassified Dawkins. He’s not actually an atheist – see “The God Delusion” for his exact position (basically, he takes a probabilistic view of things, so he’s technically an agnostic – though for practical purposes, he thinks the probabilities are such that he’s closer to atheist than classic agnostic).

Second, while I’d agree he inflames the theists, I wonder is that reason enough to classify him as unhelpful – his books and rationalisations *are* helpful to those who are receptive to them. And those people may or may not go on to make his arguments again, but in a less direct, more soothing manner..

Maybe I’m taking humour too seriously, but it’s really strange to see Dawkins categorised as being as evil as the worst of the major religions, and overlapping with Scientology.

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colmmacc  on May 17, 2009

@Paul eh, that’s what makes it blasphemous. Your own reaction is illustrative ;p

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niall  on May 18, 2009

wrt to belief in aliens theres a case for a bigger degree of batshit insane given all the Americans who believe they’ve be abducted by them

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ann  on May 18, 2009

Quakers also owned and ran several of the major chocolate companies – Frys, Cadbury and Rowntree.

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Kevin Hargaden  on May 18, 2009

Very funny.

What I want to know is where can I get access to these “sheep” teachings you allude to.

Also, @conor: no religious groups in Ireland lobbied for this legislation and the reaction to it has been virulent amongst Christians

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Tom  on May 19, 2009

Honesty would require a small change to your graph. After all, Kurt Godel proved that any theory is one of 2 things :

-> cannot be proven to be consistent
-> inconsistent

For any non-trivial theory. So “Non-contradictory” is a bit inaccurate, after all nothing worth knowing is non-contradictory (and to be honest, certainly Richard Dawkins isn’t, have you read his books ?)

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Tom  on May 19, 2009

Btw. the UN has adopted a resolution criminalizing all criticism of islam. Not a peep was heard from anyone, least of all you.

So one might be tempted to conclude that there is just 1 specific religion you hate. The graph illustrates this stupidity.

All of Buddhism, Hinduism and islam are more “good” than Christianity on your graph. The one thing those 3 religions have in common is slavery.

Judaism is “neutral” on the slave issue, one the one hand you could correctly claim that to correctly carry out Jewish rituals you need slaves, but you would also be correct in saying that contemporary Jews obviously don’t have slaves.

This would be opposed to muslims, that have religiously sanctified slaves in many countries, including Sudan, Saudi arabia, Dubai, and really most of the gulf countries.

India may not be a slave-hoarding society per-se, but you might want to look up exactly what the word “dalit” means. Open slavery of Dalits was eliminated in India, like in the middle east, by British forces implanting Christianity in that country (the arabs simply re-instituted slavery when the British left).

Why not make the graph illustrate the evident historical truth ? Christianity created the very concept that we understand as freedom. Christianity built the countries we live in. It is firmly on the side of good.

And let’s just say that it would be best to shut up about just how good most religions are, given historical behavior. Muslims are the worst by far, islam started, spread and lives by massacres even today. slavery, “raids” (religiously sanctioned stealing and enslaving attacks on unexpecting villagers) are an essential component of islam, and were carried out by the center of islam, the “prophet”) but that doesn’t change that Buddhists have ample blood on their hands (such as dozens of massacres on Thai populations) and so do Hindus.

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Disapproving Ex-Campaigner  on May 24, 2009

@Tom

Missing. The. Point.

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barnesa  on May 26, 2009

Brilliant – I’m especially partial to the implication that while still on the road to “batsh1t3 insane”, Siths and Jedi’s are still trend closer to sanity than (for example) christianity :-D

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antonio  on June 6, 2009

@Tom: luckily Christianity did NOT build the countries where we live in, probably you should refresh your knowledge of European history.

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