I couldnt help thinking today after the events in Paris that this is what Sam Harris speaks to (and tried to convince the ears-closed Ben Affleck of a couple moons back). We dont hear about Buddhist extremists blowing up buildings and terrorizing innocents. Neither do we hear of Christian zealots beheading those that arent perfect Christians. We hear this almost exclusively as it pertains to Islam. This does not mean (and I am not saying) that all Islam is an evil, because it certainly isnt, but there are aspects of Islamic doctrine (things that have not been dismissed over the centuries within that faith) that promote a violent response to any perceived threat. Today cannot be considered surprising. Lets be clear, if you believe what they believe, then they did exactly what they were supposed to under Divine Command Theory. Theres no wiggle room here - what they did is wrong and if thats true much of the underpinnings of their philosophy is, at best, very hard to defend as well. Heres a quote from Harris: As an atheist, I cannot help wondering when this scrim of pretense and delusion will be finally burned away—either by the clear light of reason or by a surfeit of horror meted out to innocents by the parties of God. Which will come first, flying cars and vacations to Mars, or a simple acknowledgment that beliefs guide behavior and that certain religious ideas—jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy—reliably lead to oppression and murder? Something else to keep in mind, the correct response to this is not to say, Oh, weve been offensive, we should not have such magazines and papers out that offend others/the religious (and I dont need a sermon regarding just how sarcastic the magazine in question got - they were known for pushing it, but that doesnt men that the correct response was to gun them down). The correct response is to continue saying whatever it is you want to say. Free speech (including the offensive short of libelous) and the free exchange of ideas is the beginning of civilization. Didnt we just have this conversation regarding The Interview? Sony caved then sort of figured out that was a bad idea... So... We know this. The correct response is to affirm and reaffirm that people have the right to speak out on virtually any topic whenever they want. We can all fight it out and disagree about things, but making subjects, any subjects, taboo and off the table or killing those we disagree with is crawling back to medievalism.
Posted on: Wed, 07 Jan 2015 19:03:53 +0000
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