30 September 2023

Blasphemy Day

September 30 is Blasphemy Day International, the date having been chosen in 2009 to commemorate the original publication of the Danish Muhammad cartoons in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005.  Its purpose is to affirm that freedom of expression must explicitly include the right to criticize, ridicule, and attack religious beliefs and ideas -- that religion is not granted any special exemption or sanctity different from any other kind of ideas.

The publication of the cartoons came about a year after the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands by an Islamist after he had made a short film about the oppression of women under Islam.  The cartoon controversy drew a hard line between the defenders of Western values and human freedom and their enemies.  The Danish prime minister stood firm for free speech, refusing to meet with a group of eleven ambassadors from Muslim countries who demanded he act against Jyllands-Posten.  The French magazine Charlie Hebdo later reprinted the cartoons.  On the other side, mobs of violent Muslim thugs attacked Western embassies in several countries.  Shamefully but predictably, several major Christian authorities including the Vatican condemned the cartoons.

This condemnation, of course, was well in line with the centuries of Christian persecution of scientists, nonbelievers, independent thinkers, gays, women, adherents of different religions, and even adherents of the locally "wrong" form of Christianity, during the thousand years of darkness and stagnation in which the West was submerged between the fall of Roman civilization and the Renaissance.

I have always held that religion in general is the most malignant and reactionary force acting across the course of human history, and that in particular the Abrahamic religions, notably Christianity, are a toxic alien contaminant within our civilization, inherently inimical to true Western culture and values.  The absolute right not only to criticize and argue against religion, but to subject it to mockery and ridicule, is an integral and essential part of freedom of expression, necessary for any hope of freeing our minds from this dangerous psychological infection.


Blogger Mary said...

Love it! Some really good ones.

30 September, 2023 05:31  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

Thank you for introducing me to this day.

30 September, 2023 09:54  
Blogger NickM said...

I cannot stand the faux-liberals who defend Islam with the racism slur.

Islam itself proclaims itself the "One True Faith"(TM) for everyone, everywhere, since Creation to The End.

So "race" has nothing to do with it.

I am sick of hearing this tired trope trotted about by non-Muslims who would scream bloody murder if they were forced on pain of medieval punishment to live by the Qu'ran and Hadith.

Furthermore the whole, "It's their culture innit?" line is staggeringly patronising. It is essentially the colonial-era concept of "The Noble Savage" dressed all white-guilted and woken.

It's more shi'ite than a mosque full of ayatollahs.

But then I'm a middle-aged, middle-class, married heterosexual Englishman so everything is my fault and, of course, I bring nothing to the cultural "salad bowl"! Oh, and I have an MSc in astrophysics and we all know how culturally oppressive the physical sciences are... You know the stuff that means most of us no longer have to shovel shit from one place to another for mess of pottage before kicking the bucket from scrofula.

30 September, 2023 10:20  
Blogger Lady M said...

Brilliant post - I totally agree that no religion is above scrutiny and derision. Religions are arbitrary constructs created by humans based upon nothing concrete. If any other business tried to sell you an invisible product for which they had to evidence, they would be sued.

01 October, 2023 04:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mary: Thanks!

Ricko: Keep spreading the word!

NickM: Such defense of Islam, or of backward cultures generally, is racist in its own way. It's saying that oppression we would never tolerate is good enough for those people. It's saying that non-Westerners aren't up to the task of sustaining freedom and democracy, or complex technology, so it's more "authentic" if they languish in backwardness. It's treating them as museum exhibits instead of people.

01 October, 2023 04:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Lady M: Thanks! Certainly religions are human constructs, otherwise they wouldn't all be so different. Science is the same in every country.

Considering the price people have historically paid for religion -- mindless obedience and staying in perpetual ignorance -- it's all the more infuriating that the product delivers nothing.

01 October, 2023 08:53  

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