God Bother

Alber Saber is due to be sentenced today in Egypt for the crime of ‘insulting Islam.’ He is alleged to have administered the Egyptian Atheists page on Facebook. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out, but in the meantime there are some questions to be asked of a jurisdiction that makes thoughts the subject of criminal proceedings.
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Mr Saber was brought up in a Christian household, but at some stage decided that he did not share the Christian beliefs of his parents, or indeed any belief in any supernatural gods. Mobs of believers descended on his home and demanded that he be arrested and punished for daring to say that he disbelieved in the things that they believed in, which is what happened. The obvious question this raises is why believers think that their gods are so fragile they need this kind of protection.

If you believe in a god, and believe that god to be omniscient and omnipotent, why should you care that someone else does not believe? What possible harm can it do to you, or to your god? None. The only reason for this kind of overreaction is that faith is too fragile to tolerate the existence of non-faith; believers are afraid that the views of atheists are too rational—they are afraid that that their own faith will not be able to withstand the onslaught of reason and logic, and then they will have to confront the frightening fact of their own mortality.

Egypt is one of many countries that have explicit laws against apostasy and blasphemy. Some even prescribe the death penalty for not believing in the national religion. I don’t know what answer the judges in these countries would provide if they were asked whether they think it is better to pretend to faith on pain of death, or to be honestly faithless. Even countries whose constitutions guarantee freedom of religion or non-religion often have laws that favour one particular religion, or religion over non-religion, such as tax exempt status given to religious institutions.

Then there is the demand by religious groups that they are not to be insulted. We keep seeing this: Christians are up in arms because someone said that he doubted that Christ existed, or if he did he wasn’t the son of God; Muslims are hysterical because someone drew a picture of Mohamed. As long as humans have different beliefs and viewpoints, humans are going to be offended. This is as it should be. Freedom from being offended is not a human right, and the fact that one portion of society might be offended does not supply a reason for silencing the opinions of another.

In political discourse it would rightly be regarded—at least in a free country—as absurd for one party to demand of another that they not openly disagree with anything they say, and yet that is exactly what is demanded by religion. Disagreement with, or disparagement of, religion is regarded as blasphemy. Religion demands to be treated differently to every other sphere of human activity.

News just in: Mr Saber has been awarded a three year jail sentence for not believing in flying horses. If you don’t see anything wrong with that you deserve to live in a mediaeval hellhole under sharia law.

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Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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7 Responses to God Bother

  1. Beechmount says:

    The foundation of most religions is mans innate fear of death as a finality. No Paradise filled with virgins for your pleasure awaits you- no Eden in which to live a never-ending life in supreme happiness, no utopia after death. At any rate, the places would be crammed with more than 80 billion souls , including this fictional basement apartment they call Hell.

    Those who do not belong or adhere to religion of any kind-are looked upon as society’s pariahs. Whichever side of the fence one is on, doubt is the feeling that has to be overcome. Intellect and religion are strange bedfellows and in-as-much that they do exist, I have never believed in fairy tales, thus I feel liberated from all the nonsense that goes with faith.

  2. Con-Tester says:

    As huge of a tragedy as it is to any right-thinking person, faith is of necessity impervious to reason. The trouble of course is that because so many people’s brains are victims of this mind cancer called religion, there’s a general resort to ad populum as arbiter of truth and right.

    The shrill clamour for special dispensations and privileges by the religious indicate a significant underlying insecurity about the things they profess to believe. Unfortunately, as in the present case, it can also be highly corrosive and divisive, and I am profoundly puzzled that otherwise rational people are apparently incapable of seeing the toxic fallout from their beliefs.

    • Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.
      In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
      Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear Jehovah and depart from evil.
      Healing shall be to your navel and marrow to your bones.
      Honor Jehovah with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase;
      and your barns shall be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst with new wine.
      My son, do not despise the chastening of Jehovah; nor be weary with His correction;
      for whom Jehovah loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. [Proverbs 3:5-12 MKJV, eSword].

      • Con-Tester says:

        Yeah, and such inane second-hand horseshit will really help Alber Saber get out of the pickle he’s in due to others’ inane second-hand horseshit.

        But it seems you didn’t get enough over at TART Remarks, eh Constable Piet “Profanity” Stassen? Want to go a few more rounds with me here as well? Just keep posting your inane second-hand horseshit.

  3. “… why should you care that someone else does not believe? What possible harm can it do to you, or to your god?”

    They fear people like him will spread that disbelief and thus cause more apostasy. You are correct in your next statement that they recognize how fragile faith is.

    Let’s hope Amnesty International can get him released. Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea about Alber Saber.

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