Regarding Blasphemers: “People become wedded to their beliefs, because the validity of those beliefs reflects on their competence, commends them as authorities, and rationalizes their mandate to lead. Challenge a person’s beliefs, and you challenge his dignity, standing, and power. And when those beliefs are based on nothing but faith, they are chronically fragile… When people organize their lives around these beliefs, and then learn of other people who seem to be doing just fine without them – or worse, who credibly rebut them – they are in danger of looking like fools. Since one cannot defind a belief based on faith by persuading skeptics it is true, the faithful are apt to react to unbelief with rage, and may try to eliminate that affront to everything that makes their lives meaningful.”
Therein lies some context to our Real Blasphemers WRM; and yes believers should concentrate on their own conduct but perhaps the struggles makes it easier to look for apostates…
The problem with Islam today is that many, many Moslems believe that murder is an appropriate response to things like the Danish cartoons.
Death penalty for blasphemy in Pakistan (and probably elsewhere) (often on manufactured evidence).
Death penalty for apostasy.
“Honor” (dishonor) killings, routine in many Islamic cultures.
Not murder, but still barbaric: Female genital mutilation.
These are widely supported in many Islamic countries.
The Prophet Mohammed did not want any pictures of him made because he did not want to be worshipped, as he believed that worship should be reserved for God. He did not want to be deified the way Jesus (Jews and Muslims regard Jesus as a Prophet, not the Son of God), and to a lesser extent, Mary (re the Marionites) were.
Fair enough. If you have pictures of Mohammed, but none of Allah, then it’s a good chance over time followers will start worshipping the man. It is very must to Mohammed’s credit he made the effort to take himself out of the worship line-of-sight.
What followed then was like the hermit scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, where the mod tries to attach a deep meaning to everything Brian says as he tries to get rid of him.
Instead of respecting Mohammed’s wishes in spirit, Muslims have deified him, worshipping not his image, but the lack thereof. How special does someone have to be to have divine basis for not reproducing his image. It therefore becomes blasphemy to produce an image, or make any comment which could be construed in any way to be critical or disrespectful of Mohammed.
Exactly what Mohammed wanted to avoid has come to pass: he is regarded as sacred, as more than a man, as a deity. He would be horrified.
Those Muslims who justify any violent action on the basis of perceived offense to the Prophet, regardless of how thin the justification to take offense, are going against the express wish of Mohammed, and are committing blasphemy by raising him above the level of man.
The irony would be hilarious if it weren’t for the astounding level of hate and violence arising from this type of blasphemy.
There are other “real blasphemers” who Professor Mead fails to mention; included amongst this group would be the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine and others which didn’t have the guts to run the Danish cartoons that sparked so much controversy. These staunch defenders of the First Amendment and free expression allowed a group of radical Islamic nutcases to dictate what they could or could not print. If that’s not blasphemy against American values, I don’t know what is.
A few years ago, the Yale University Press published an academic treatise on the controversy surrounding the publication of the Danish cartoons. So cowardly was Yale that they redacted images of the cartoons from an academic work all about the cartoons. The excuse given by Yale’s President, Richard Levin, was that he feared that if the Yale University Press allowed the cartoons to be printed in the book it would offend the Muslim world.
Levin claimed that he had consulted several experts; as it turned out, he was acting largely on the advice of Fareed Zakaria, another apologist for Islamic extremism.
For those who have not seen them, the cartoons can be viewed here,
Mohammed encouraged his followers to murder poets who wrote verses ridiculing him. This is why some Muslims believe they have a right to murder anyone who criticizes Islam and its prophet.