“Religious Feelings” are no Excuse

There they go again: it is “wrong” to hurt other peoples’ religious feelings, it would be better to be “respectful” when criticizing religious practises or beliefs, etc.. That film was a provocation, they say.
There are Christians who are offering “thoughtful advice” about “angry Muslims”. Of course, they condemn violence like the assassination of the American ambassador and three of his compatriots in Libya. It seems to be taken for granted that the movie triggered the murder.

During the past decades, the Christian churches I know have become cute and chummy. Yes, you have the right to do your own thing, and no, you won’t be schooled in public, from the pulpit, even if you don’t follow what were once “the rules”.

What should baffle me (it doesn’t, really, because I’ve seen it before) is that the same faithful people who watch the “Life of Brian” and have a good laugh will also inform me that “Innocence of Muslims” is “offensive”. Something must be wrong when people – of whatever background – talk about “respect” as a reaction to murder. But the issue is murder, not respect. “Hurt feelings” may spell mitigating circumstances if the perpetrators can be brought to justice, but that will be that. In that context, the use of the term provocation may make some sense – but it doesn’t add any legitimacy to their crimes. It is, in fact, rather revealing: the “god-fearing” mob is unable to control itself.

It is a man’s own choice if he wants to go an a rampage, or if he wants to be a civilized member of human society. It’s his individual responsibility. A man and his god aren’t the same person. I fact, monotheistic religion is about people having choices. If religion helps to educate people, that may be a good thing. If it is here to put murder into perspective, even before the perpetrators can be brought to justice, it is trash.

Most Muslims don’t go on a rampage every time they are told that their religion has been insulted. The over-protective approach that defenders – Christian, Muslim, or other – of “religious feelings” are taking in this context makes no sense to me. Try that approach when people who feel offended are prepared to talk.

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Related

» Feelgood for the Day, June 4, 2011

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