Wednesday 7 January 2015

On religion and its attempts to inspire respect

On my usual walking route into town there is a woman who hangs out in a bus stop waiting to inform passersby in a chanting monotone that Jesus loves them. I suppose it's harmless enough but every time, I kick myself for not taking her aside and gently explaining that she's hardly a good advertisement for Jesus. Apparently, his influence causes her to behave in socially inappropriate and incoherent ways.

This is not harmless. In Paris, Charlie Hebdo has been the victim of (another) horrifically successful terrorist attack, since twelve people are dead. Both this and the earlier firebombing are almost certainly linked to their willingness to poke a little fun at the prophet Muhammad. It's an activity I've never participated in myself, since I consider Muhammad a figure of minor historical interest and am perfectly happy to let him sink into quiet oblivion. However, it is obvious that both Charlie Hebdo and certain terrorists felt differently. And there is nothing Charlie Hebdo could possibly have said or drawn which would have the power to disgrace Muhammad, Allah and Islam the way these terrorists just have.

All in all, it's a sad day to be French but a good day to be an atheist.

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