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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Western society took a few centuries and spilled a lot of blood learning how to deal with blasphemy. Faithfulness to God requires genuine blasphemy be punished. The genius of modern Christianity was to reconcile such punishment with a multi-religious society where critical discussion of anything religious can be considered blasphemous by some believers. The reconciliation comes from Jesus’ admonition, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, render unto God that which is God’s,” or, perhaps, “vengeance is the Lord’s.” Blasphemy is to be punished by God, not man.

Europe’s problem with Islam (and Islam’s problem with the rest of the world) is that to many Muslims 1) their definition of blasphemy includes practically any criticism of Islam (Islam was given to us directly by God, thus any criticism of Islam is an affront to God) and 2) blasphemy is rightly punished by men, not just God.

I do not know what percentage of Muslims hold these views. But we literally cannot live with people who hold such views. Europe attempts to coexist with them at its own peril.

Related post: Europe in Peril

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Perhaps we over analyze the nature of the Islamic world. I would argue that people in general are cowardly when criticising Islam, perhaps rightly so. Thus, if Muslims were not of the radical sort, do they have the guts to stand up to the terrorists who issue fatwas of death against any critic and then carry out murders of citizens such as Theo Van Gogh for criticising Islam. Why would a "moderate" muslim in the west ever speak out??

Consider artists in the west. You can find bus loads of leftist artists ready and willing to show some "artistic" exhibit of Jesus having sex with the virgin Mary or any similar type of offensive display. In fact criticising Christianity is cliche, one would think such artists would be ready to attempt new territory. Does anyone really see such offensive dispplays as any sort of bravery - could they be arrested under the patriot act? Does Pat Robertson send out his Christian Crusader terrorists to "rough-up" such offenders. No. The worst that happens to these artists in the west is a boycott of their art, which usually brings them more publicity and more money. However, consider a real challenge...would such artists gamble at showing the Prophet Mohammed in an offensive manner....HA HA HA...I seriously doubt it.

12:50 AM, November 28, 2004  
Blogger King Oliver said...

I don't know that our way of dealing with blasphemy is as fixed as Chris's initial post suggests. It seems more likely to me a product of the 20th century liberal view of the First Amendment. I find it hard to believe that local authorities would not have been free to punish blasphemy in the first century of the Republic. In fact, the liberal view is evidenced by the failure to distinguish between blasphemy and criticism of a religion. That seems to me the equivalent of equating obscenity with discussion of sexuality. There is some degree of offensiveness from which communities should be able to protect themselves. Obviously, Muslims who think they are the divinely-appointed avengers of critics of Islam are incapable of participating in our society. But that doesn't mean that a community of Christians, Jews, or Muslims in America should not be able to pass legislation prohibiting intentional affronts to their religious beliefs, as opposed to the airing of issues in debate. I don't want to promote a right to be free from offense, because some people are offended by anything, but I'm not willing to say there can be no enforceable community standard of blasphemy (or obscenity).

In my view, the harm caused by obscenity and blasphemy outweigh the theoretical advantages of permitting them. There will always be a line drawn somewhere, so we should draw the line where is is more helpful to us than it is now.

6:37 PM, November 30, 2004  

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