I had a conversation the other day about things that shouldn’t be said. In that case we were talking about an internet joke, and the topic was rape. As a natural opponent to rape, I understood where the other internet citizen was coming from, but I had to disagree with him. That is, while he thought that just mentioning rape was terrible, and using the word as part of a joke was a crime against those that had ever been raped, I thought that did a disservice to language, society, and the freedom for people to express themselves.
So I think you can make a quick guess how I feel about Blasphemy.
It is September 30th, and that means it is Blasphemy Day. ‘Created’ by the secular ‘Center for Inquiry’, it was created to fall on the anniversary of the Dutch Muhammad cartoon controversy. When a cartoons depicting the holy figure of Islam lead to protests around the world by Muslims, some of which became violent. That was 2005, so we have mostly forgotten about it. But not the CFI, it seems, and now we have a barely celebrated holiday to show for it.
Once I had to have a conversation about blasphemy with a friend, and the primary complaint was that draw Muhammad day was just an attempt to hurt the sensibilities of others by attacking something they personally considered sacred. It was hard not to agree with him on that front, that is the root of the day’s idea. The part that is often overlooked seems to be why someone would do that.
I don’t have to tell anyone, but what is sacred to one person, may not be sacred for his neighbor. The amount of blasphemy I commit on your average day would be soul crushing if I had the capacity to care about it. Are cows still sacred? Because can you imagine how many of those have been slaughtered just for me to consume them? Heck, for Zoroastrians all life is sacred, and I’ll tell you right now that I have crushed more than my fair share of spiders who crossed me (At least I think that was Zorastrians). I’ve said the lords name in all sorts of vain, and I can’t talk about my other acts of blasphemy without causing eternal shame to my family.
To summarize, you don’t give a shit about blasphemy. Every single one of you. I know you don’t, because that implies you avoid all the sorts of blasphemy from every religion you’re aware of, and in the internet age that would paralyze you.
No, blasphemy is the peculiar act of calling someone out for not following your house rules for life. Its like being mad when someone points out that free parking doesn’t actually give you any money in monopoly, then burning down their house in the name of Mr. Moneybags.
So you think your god being drawn is blasphemy? Tough cookies. You can only stay your own drawing hand, but trust me when I say I can draw one mean Muhammad doodle. And the more you tell me not to do it, the better chance I’ll do it just to remind you that I have every right to do it.
Just like you can say whatever lords name in vain, or go kill yourself a cow, and swat a few flies while you’re at it. They’re just stories people, and no one is coming to spank you on the behind for saying a naughty word (or doing a naughty act).
If someone does, if you live in a society where you are not free to commit blasphemy without repercussions, you may want to ask yourself what sort of society you live in. Are you truly free if you have are beholden to fairy tales? Is that a fairy tale you want to live by if it can’t take you standing up against it?