Monday, February 06, 2006

A Fair Proposal

There is grotesque violence in the Mid East over a stupid cartoon that supposedly slanders and disrespects Mohammed. And anyway, There are cartoons insulting Jews in nearly every Arab newspaper, bespeaking the unfairness of the Fundamentalist stance on a daily basis. They don't get upset when A religion is insulted, of course, only when "Their" religion is seemingly insulted.

I have no tolerance for this sort of thing, particularly since it is common for people to insult my own religion several times a day to my face, and I let it go.
Well, ok, I do tend to make some quietly sarcastic joke at unthinking ritualists, but that's beside the point. The real point is this:

Fundamentalists will scream and whine if their religion is tweaked but will nearly always laugh when it happens to the "other." Jew jokes, Catholic jokes, Muslim jokes, etc...usually funny to the Others, but they are a source of anger when it is your own religion being laughed at. There are two possible ways in which we of the world can handle this silly state of affairs.

We can agree to never insult anyone's religion, or we can agree to allow ALL religions to be insulted, laughed at, criticized, followed mindlessly, challenged, or ignored.

The first is nearly impossible to do, if for no other reason than some religions consider themselves to be insulted by even the mere existance of members of some other religions. Some Islamist and some Jewists, and some Baptists, etc... fit this description, though not all. Fundamentally, this stance is a challenge to a "Duel to the Death"...
Actually, if some suitable Seconds and an appropriate "Field of Honor" could be found that wouldn't endanger the rest of the world, I would go along with such a resolution, on one condition.

The rest of us have to agree to join forces and kill the winner.

This is obviously necessary for a tolerant world, since anyone who would fight and kill for religious reasons is not fit for a world of Pluralists...A world in which differing views are accepted.

Mine, for instance...and possibly yours (but I'm not sure...)




  1. the "insult," in this case, is that the cartoons depicted the Prophet Mohammed, something that is forbidden in Islam. It doesn't matter what the content of the cartoons was, only that Mohammed was depicted. Theoretically, it wouldn't have mattered if Mohammed was pictured giving alms to the poor or teaching a class or whatever -- it's not permitted to picture the prophet because that, the belief goes, sets him above god.

    That said, this whole thing is insane -- but it's typical of fundamentalism. "My religion forbids X, therefore no one can X." The saner thing would be to say "My religion forbids X, therefore I won't X." But fundamentalists -- no matter what religion -- can't grasp that simple idea. We see it repeatedly here in the United States, where -- so far at least -- the extremist Christians among us aren't regularly resorting to violent protests to enforce their view. How long will that hold? Don't know. But they do insist on withholding funds from organization that X, only a little shift from canceling contracts with countries that X, as Iraq has done regarding the Mohammed cartoons.

    This is about fundamentalism, to me, and specifically the dangers of letting it have a strong hold on governments -- because if it didn't, the protesters wouldn't think they could have a free hand in doing whatever the heck they want to do -- and they wouldn't essentially get it, either.

    It's a cautionary tale for us here. Not a story about religion, but rather about extremism in religion.

  2. Anonymous10:48 AM

    Does it have anything to do with "Freedon of Speech" or "Extremism in Religion" or, is it really all about "Control"?