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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Christian and Jewish intolerance


    by Al-Hack on 12th October, 2006 at 9:18 am    

    Where is the freedom of speech outrage? Where are the legions of writers coming forward to defend the right of writers to say what they want?

    The British-based author and former publisher Carmen Callil has become embroiled in a growing dispute over the limits of freedom of speech in America after a party celebrating her new book on Vichy France was cancelled because of the opinion she expresses about the modern state of Israel.

    The row over Callil’s book is the latest element in a dispute about restrictions on freedom of speech in the US in relation to comments on Israel. [Hat tip MWW]

    In India the Christians look more confident after Da Vinci Code.

    US rock act Slayer’s latest album has been withdrawn from sale in India after religious groups complained about its cover depicting a mutilated Christ.

    The band’s Indian label, EMI Music, recalled stocks of Christ Illusion and had them destroyed. Joseph Dias, of Mumbai’s Catholic Secular Forum, said the album was “offensive and in very bad taste”.

    BBC News. I demand a global boycott!


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs






    102 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. Chairwoman — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:14 am  

      I take no issue with what Carmen Callil has said. I only object to criticism of Israel when the critic implies that Israel is the only guilty party to whatever action is under discussion..

      I don’t have to agree with a statement to defend the author’s right to make it.

      I am astonished that an event would be cancelled because of this.

      As for the Indian incident, I can only assume that the bad taste tolerence line is considerably lower than in the UK.

    2. Don — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:23 am  

      Banning a piece of art (in the broadest sense) is a cheap and easy way throwing a sop to a minority, so the substantial issues can be ignored for a little longer.

    3. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:26 am  

      a global boycott of what?

      everyone appears to be equally intolerant - and at the same time pretending they aren’t. that’s not surprising to me at all - we’re all hypocrites, right? :-)

      obviously the USA likes to go on about freedom of speech but it’s along the same lines of ‘land of the free’ - it’s all the same in the end anyways. there’s a certain amount but there are always boundaries. like you can’t say you’d like to kill the president as there is a specific law about that. you can’t say jack anywhere any more. everyone’s lost their sense of humour ( or maybe some didn’t have any to start off with)

      i must say what intrigues me is all this violence about destroying stocks of the albums- isn’t that a bit unnecessary -perhaps they could have recylced them! it reminds me of what councils do when they ‘seize’ audio equipment when they’ve slapped an ASBO on someone for noise etc - they destroy the equipment!! What’s that all about - needless violence -they could sold the damn things and made some money, bring the council tax down a bit… Sheesh. Really no sense of humour anywhere!

      Chairwoman :-) you’re right about the bad taste tolerance line in india…its very low that’s for sure

    4. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:26 am  

      I saw both stories before and that’s why I’ve been banging on about this freedom of speech issue. WHilst most people don’t receive death threats when they air their views, they may lose contracts, book deals and get ostracized from their social network. They are not held as champions of freedom of speech.

      And is it just me or when freedom of speech was previously defended it was for intelligent debates, that were being stifled, not nonsense like the Mo or Holocaust cartoons. What has happened to media standards? I don’t care if you are from the left or right, I want to get some rigorous analysis, not lame unoriginal thinking.

    5. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:27 am  

      hmm the title of this post ought really to say intolerance everywhere or something about religious intolerance- we know full well there’s plenty of muslim intolerance as well.

    6. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:28 am  

      hah there weren’t ever any media standards. they like to sell and that’s about it.

    7. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:29 am  

      “hmm the title of this post ought really to say intolerance everywhere or something about religious intolerance- we know full well there’s plenty of muslim intolerance as well.”

      Ditto, add in a bit of militant atheism, Dawkin’s style. It seems like people are shifting into bunker mentalities.

    8. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:29 am  

      ban ban boycotts everywhere not a drop to drink.

    9. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:31 am  

      “hah there weren’t ever any media standards. they like to sell and that’s about it.”

      True but I’ve never seen the Beeb, or Tv News slipping into tabloid style analysis. It’s also about the content and representation of issues aired, i.e. how the freedom of speech issue if being framed. It’s crap, and hypocritical.

    10. bananabrain — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:32 am  

      i agree with chairwoman. if democracy and the british way of life mean anything, it must mean the right to free speech, no matter who gets offended. in the same way, this idiot writer, as well as other people who seem to think israel is the only thing to blame for anything in the world, must be able to say so, just like people who think that the earth is flat, the queen is a lizard from outer space, muhammad was a paedophile, the holocaust didn’t happen, george bush is as bad as hitler, the palestinians don’t really exist, ken livingstone is interested in anything other than himself, jesus wears a nappy and is a little bit gay and, of course, that sexual assaults can happen in a gurdwara and make it into a play. i don’t have to listen and i am similarly free to refute, insult, blackguard and ridicule the people who make such statements. that’s what free speech is about.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    11. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:57 am  

      Check this out:

      http://technology.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1920100,00.html

      Is this going to be a trend. Well there goes blogging freedom of speech.

    12. Leon — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:11 am  

      I didn’t know Slayer had a new album out, might have to check it out!

    13. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:33 am  

      What are Napalm Death doing these days?

    14. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:47 am  

      ha well atheism is a type of belief too! which sort of impinges on what’s generally understood to be a religion. often i find the folks on either extreme - i know god exists, i know god doesn’t exist - can have similar strength of belief, be convinced everyone else is talking shit and be very similar personalities.

      in any case dogmatic beliefs aren’t restricted to views on religion - can be about nationalism/patriotism ( or anything obviously) - i.e. belief that one musn’t insult or say anything bad about one’s country.

    15. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:53 am  

      yes the good old BBC - they’ve got standards which aren’t tied to the world of commerce. i suppose one good thing about the TV licence.

      yes bananabrain of course chairwoman is right. since this comes up so often we could copy + paste our comments and ctrl v when necessary.

      sahil - i bet it will be a trend - there wasn’t really any freedom of speech on blogs - just that not too many people read them - you’ve got to stay anonymous if you don’t want a backlash. i mean the whole employer hoo ha thing - if your employer worked out you were blogging -why so many bloggers have been fired and ‘outed’.

      *shudders and looks over shoulder* these damn open plan offices

    16. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:56 am  

      Slayer’s album gets shelved, Leo Sayer continues to sell records

      The injustice

    17. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

      #15 LOL, better get back to work!!

    18. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

      I’m going to write a novel in which the main character defecates on the holy books of every major religion, wipes his backside on the pages of said books, then compares Israel to Nazi Germany, simulates oral sex with a minor, masturbates with religious statues and icons, descibes various religious figures as sexual deviants, rapes women of various races and religions and screams racial and religious epithets at them as he rapes, then goes back to his nice suburban home and reads the Daily Mail. It’s called ‘I Shit on Your Face’ It’s about transgression and a celebration of the human spirit. But I’m not trying to be provocative or controversial, honestly.

    19. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

      #18 LOL, at least you’re not politically correct ;) , *gets back to reading the hate mail*

    20. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

      It’s an exploration of the boundaries of our societal agendas of the jungian terror of modern life and is very very important novel indeed. But I’m not trying to be provocative. Oh yeah, I forgot to add the scene which describes how the narrator discovered his taste for necrophiliac pederasty (he has a particular preference for Asian and Jewish schoolgirls in religious attire) - he’s rebelling against God, you see.

      But I’m not trying to be provocative.

    21. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

      (notes down ideas for own book frantically, with further plans to derail this thread so abominably it has to be deleted, thus destroying the evidence)

      So yeah, big juicy cunts, eh?

    22. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:52 pm  

      kismet Hardy I am disgusted by the crudity of your question. This is a work of art I am talking about, not cheap sensationalism and I am not trying to be provocative. Any use of the word ‘cunt’ in my novel is for artistic reasons, when describing the dead bodies of Asian and Jewish girls and the founders of various religions, for example. I am not trying to be controversial, honestly.

    23. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

      And no, I’m not describing Nirpal Dhaliwal’s next book, either.

    24. soru — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

      ‘then goes back to his nice suburban home and reads the Daily Mail’

      Ok, that’s going to far. You can’t have explicit scenes of Daily Mail-reading in a novel

    25. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:00 pm  

      soru

      Look, don’t try and destroy my freedom of speech man! It’s the Daily Mail and I’m not changing it!

    26. Chairwoman — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:04 pm  

      Jagdeep - What, no homosexuality?

    27. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

      And stop calling me controversial and provocative! Because its art!

      Now if you can stop persecuting me for five minutes, I have to finish writing the anal-fisting in a religious house of worship scene. It’s about the universality of pain and the irony of multiculturalism and stuff, and things like that.

    28. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:14 pm  

      Jagdeep - What, no homosexuality?

      Au contraire Chairwoman, au contraire. I am actually working on the chapter in which a black man, a Sikh, a Hindu, a Muslim and a Jewish man take turns in anally raping the narrator, as they chant scripture from their various religion, and muffle his screams by stuffing his mouth with their holy books. It’s about the oppression of homosexuality by various ethnic minorities, which is very taboo, and needs to be tackled, but it’s not a provocative scene at all.

      You are also obviously unaware of the scene in which a HIV positive Jewish homosexual who is the son of a Jewish settler deliberately infects Palestinian activists with AIDS in a gay orgy in Hampstead attended by various leading figures of the London theatrical world as they discuss Rachel Corrie and the Likud conspiracy of North London businessman. Some would say that this is controversial, but what do they know about truth and beauty?

    29. Kismet Hardy — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:21 pm  

      Hey why don’t we like ‘flip it on its head’, like ‘turn the tables’ like, you know ‘expect the unexpected’ by ‘pushing the boundaries’. A world where Jews don’t like bagels and dodgy landlors aren’t pakistanis and the bhuna you buy isn’t made by a bangladeshi and gay people don’t like house music and men bleed for five days in a row and spend their wives’ money on shoes. It could be, what I like to call, ‘reversing the roles’.

    30. Sid — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

      You can’t no be having some magical realism as well!
      Its one of the great post-modern literary devices, after all. The central character must have a dream where he gets into a group sex scene with all the major religious figures, who give agency to symbols of the promise Modernism has failed to deliver.
      So…

      Jesus as a cross dressing clerk getting it on with Muhamammad as a gimp while Abraham takes it up the arse with a rudely shaped bitter gourde (karela).
      Moses as an ardent and committed goat fucker rapes
      Joseph who is seen enjoying bestial sex using phallic toys, poppers, coke and 10-15 Egyptian pharaonic strongmen and Guru Nanak on ecstacy and cock rings. Lots of graphic paragraphs on Lot screwing his daughters, of course.

    31. raz — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

      ANGEL OF DEATH

      MONARCH TO THE KINGDOM OF THE DEAD

      INFAMOUS…

      BUTCHER….

      ANGER OF DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    32. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

      Orhun Pamuk wins Nobel Prize for literature

      http://books.guardian.co.uk/nobelprize/story/0,,1920659,00.html

      Obviously they havent read my book yet…

    33. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

      :-)

    34. Jagdeep — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:31 pm  

      OK folks, I’m on my way home and taking off for a long weekend break with the family. Speak to y’all next week!

    35. Sid — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:33 pm  

      Sorry did I say “give agency to symbols of the promise Modernism has failed to deliver.”? I meant the promise multiculturalism has failed to offer. Something for everyone, including the Grandmaster Melly Mel Philips fan club too, of course.

    36. Leon — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:36 pm  

      Have a good one Jagdeep!:)

    37. El Cid — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

      Al Hack (if that really is your name or a cover for someone else), who are you trying to kid?
      As if Christian intolerance — modern Christian intolerance — is anywhere near as pervasive as the modern moslem world’s. If you are just trying to prove that intolerance works bother ways, then fine, you’re preaching to the converted.
      But while you’re at it, how comes you didn’t mention secular intolerance?
      OK, you got me — I hate the damn veil. I may defend people’s right to wear them, but I won’t be making friends with them, let alone talking to them. It is anti-social. Sure, ok, so was punk, but that didn’t smell of female submissiveness.
      And yes, you got me again — I’m intolerant of violent intolerance. I’m not happy seeing Dhaka chav burning effigies of the Pope on my tv. But I don’t see it as representative and I have no plans to boycott curry houses anytime soon.

    38. Chairwoman — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:41 pm  

      Jagdeep - don’t forget to show them the proofs :-)

    39. El Cid — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:42 pm  

      Of on another slight tangent, is Turkey’s denial of 1915 an example of secular intolerance or moslem intolerance? Guess it could be a subsector of both.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6043730.stm

    40. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

      See ya Jagdeep! BTW anger makes you sterile ;)

    41. Sid — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

      Stay beautiful Jagdeep.

    42. Chris Stiles — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:53 pm  

      Al-Hack -

      So, what are you trying to prove?

    43. El Cid — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

      Sahil, I’ve got three kids. I think their mine anyway. They kinda look like me, and even act like me (although the missus’ DNA has clearly done a good job honing the rough edges). And I’ve been angry all my life. I’ve even smoked the odd menthol ciggie (but only when really desperate)

    44. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

      El Cid, you think their yours? I iterate anger makes you sterile ;)

    45. El Cid — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

      Well if she’s kept it hidden from me for so long fair play to her

    46. Sahil — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

      HAH!! :)

    47. Al-Hack — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:23 pm  

      “So, what are you trying to prove?”

      Is it not obvious?

    48. smallbob — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

      Hey, now France is doing it too:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6043730.stm

      “French MPs pass a bill making it a crime to deny Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915.”

    49. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

      my question was re: the global boycott..

    50. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

      39 - it’s not wanting to admit to being dodgy which appears to be a subset of human hypocrisy

    51. Raja — on 12th October, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

      Freedom of speech does not include the freedom to Fart loudly in public.

      It is an open secret that many religious fundamentalists and leftists wiht a very vitiated agenda are misusing the freedom of speech to create racial disharmony. That has to be curbed.

      No writer has the right to question Israel’s right to exist. Israel is a democratic country, it has great respect for freedom of speech and that is why it is a great nation.

      In fact in all of Middle East Israel is the only country where Muslims have a right to vote in free and fair elections. I fail to understand why should anyone, whatever be his or her religion, criticize the only beacon of democracy in the Middle East.

      Some of my Muslim friends definitely need to grow out of their sullen religious myopia. I would like to tell that that Israel is your friend. Embrace it.

    52. Jav — on 12th October, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

      In ref to #51

      yes Israel has the right to exist, but talking to Israeli Arabs they point out that they are often regarded as second or third class citizens (this has contributed towards resentment over the years) - perhaps the state should have an Muslim Arab as president (similar to India) to demonstrate equality?

    53. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      yeah right like that kind of gesture’s going to really mean anything to anyone.

    54. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

      ah indian capitalist my old good friend :-)

    55. Jav — on 12th October, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

      #53 - gotta start somewhere, there’s too much negativity and victim mentality on both sides (frankly the conflict is going to be ongoing).

    56. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 3:53 pm  

      sure Jav i agree with you in that you’ve got to start somewhere. sorry my cynicism runs away with me sometime.

    57. Chris Stiles — on 12th October, 2006 at 4:02 pm  

      Al-Hack -


      “So, what are you trying to prove?”

      Is it not obvious?

    58. Sid — on 12th October, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

      That’s told him, Chris.

    59. Chris Stiles — on 12th October, 2006 at 4:09 pm  

      Al-Hack -


      “So, what are you trying to prove?”

      Is it not obvious?

      I’m not sure what is obvious to you and what isn’t. Intolerance cuts both ways - well ‘duh’. Generally people get more worked up by the more serious egregious instances of a particular offence.

      That global protests, effigy burning and death threats illicit less of a response than a representation that ends in government censorship is not suprising. A cancelled launch party is rather less egregious than a
      criminal prosecution of authors.

      The only thing obvious is that you have no sense of proportion.

    60. Nyrone — on 12th October, 2006 at 4:40 pm  

      LOL Juggy D #18

      Proper wicked idea for a book..
      Can I join you and film the making and breakthrough release of this novel internationaly? I also have some sugestions about ways to offend others including not putting a copy of the Koran on the top shelf in a room and explaining to christians in layman terms that they no longer actually follow their religion, which in itself has always been a fable-like organized superstition to begin with …in fact, I feel like I’ve found my calling in life!

      I’ve spent way too long dissecting and trying to comprehend this crazy world, it’s time I just accept it’s insane and start my long uphill struggle to point out how fucked-up everything is and how ridiculous people look when they talk. Screw consistency! All bets are off, time to masterbate on wondering tramps and have sexual relations with trees.

      I’ll release the film as a provocumentary, designed to push buttons and piss people off worldwide!
      Mel Gibson won’t hold a candle to this….

    61. Tilling — on 12th October, 2006 at 5:04 pm  

      So Calill’s book wasn’t burnt, there were no calls for her beheading and nobody threatened another 9/11 in response to what she said. Hmm - seems there’s no comparison between the decision of the French embassy not to hold a party and the ululating fascists who wanted to kill Danish cartoonists.

    62. Andrew — on 12th October, 2006 at 6:15 pm  

      I’m outraged!

      Ban somthing quick!

    63. mirax — on 12th October, 2006 at 8:04 pm  

      >>The only thing obvious is that you have no sense of proportion.

      It’s the hack afterall; we’ve known this all along.

    64. mirax — on 12th October, 2006 at 8:11 pm  

      >>Ditto, add in a bit of militant atheism, Dawkin’s style

      Fucking dodgy definition of militancy slyly creeping in- what’s dawkins done apart from arguing his case politely? shot nuns? sent death threats? burnt effigies? disrupted art exhibitions? do let us know.

    65. Desi Italiana — on 12th October, 2006 at 8:13 pm  

      Raja:

      “It is an open secret that many religious fundamentalists and leftists wiht a very vitiated agenda are misusing the freedom of speech to create racial disharmony. That has to be curbed.”

      Right. You know, one could turn around and accuse the religious fundamentalists who are not Muslim, but could be Christian or Jewish and “rightists” of “misuing the freedom of speech to create racial disharmony.” Rhetorical ping pong!

      “No writer has the right to question Israel’s right to exist. Israel is a democratic country, it has great respect for freedom of speech and that is why it is a great nation.”

      Every writer has the right to question whatever the hell they want. Ironically, you laud a country for its “freedom of speech” yet your comment leads me to believe that you don’t respect freedom of speech. At least not in its entirety, right? Only a certain kind of speech- defined by whom, who knows?- is free to be aired.

    66. Al-Hack — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:11 pm  

      “The only thing obvious is that you have no sense of proportion.”

      Didn’t someone get off on the wrong side of the bed today? Are you denying there is any sense of “intolerance” here because I don’t recall comparing these people to Islamists.

    67. raz — on 12th October, 2006 at 11:47 pm  

      Mirax is back :)

      *nuzzles Mirax*

    68. Chris Stiles — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:14 am  

      Al-Hack -


      Didn’t someone get off on the wrong side of the bed today? Are you denying there is any sense of “intolerance” here because I don’t recall comparing these people to Islamists.

      And now you are being disingenous, I quote “Where is the freedom of speech outrage? Where are the legions of writers coming forward to defend the right of writers to say what they want?”. Your comparison makes no sense unless related to an incident where ‘legions of writers’ did come forward to ‘defend the right of writers to say what they want’.

      As another indication, why didn’t you use the story of Orhan Parmuk, or Elif Shafak. It was fairly obvious you meant to draw the religious parallel. Or at least, given the predominant tone of the rest of the comments, you didn’t mind that parallel being drawn.

    69. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:36 am  

      Chris, I think that the point that Al is trying to make is ….

      *ahem*

      HYPOCRITES!!!! HYPOCRITES !!!! THEY ARE ALL HYPOCRITES!!!! SEE WHO HAS THE POWER!!! NOT MUSLIMS!!!! YOU CANNOT TOUCH THE JEWS!!! BUT MUSLIMS ARE COUNTINOUSLY ATTACKED!!!

      Al maybe that is not the point that you are alluding to, but will not explicty mention. In the absence of any reasoned dialog this is what I’ll and everyone else will have to assume.

      TFI

    70. Raja — on 13th October, 2006 at 6:09 am  

      “Every writer has the right to question whatever the hell they want. ”

      Desi Italiana

      You are right desi I support you on this. But try telling this to the Danish guys who drew those cartoons and they will tell you that the so called free society does not award them the freedom of speech at all.

      The fact is that we live in an unfair world. Unfairness done by one religion will inspire other religions to go unfair as well. And then we can all happily go back to the world of “Dhramyudha, Jihad and Cursades”.

    71. razib — on 13th October, 2006 at 8:27 am  

      1) cancelling a book showing is not curtailing ‘freedom of speech,’ as it is the government that is banned from curtailing freedom of speech. i mean, isn’t it understood the actions of private and public actors differ?

      2) of course israel is held to a higher standard than muslim nations, israel is a western nation (or at least its ashkenazi elite is). western nations are held to higher standards because they’re civilized. on the other hand when a muslim nation is reasonably stable like tunisia or egypt we clap loudly because they aren’t cutting each other’s throats. that’s why muslims want to move to western nations and westerners don’t want to move to muslims. there is no allure in barbarian lands.

      3) dawkins style ‘militant atheism’ isn’t something you really have to worry about. we atheists aren’t throwing shit because you gullible religious folk put up pictures of your myriad gods, or mumble your magical-gibberish in public places. your superstitions are your own business, i simply get riled up when muslims bring their pre-1800 perception of the relation between religion and society to the post-1800 west. one of the victories of the enlightenment was to protect the mockery of your great ghosts.

    72. Sahil — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:04 am  

      When I refer to militant style atheism, I mean a complete lack of understanding as to why people, of various cultures, races, periods of history, have always needed, or followed a religion (faith-based philosophy). Atheism simply responds by arguing that god is not possible, so they’re all stupid inbred hicks. Well, why don’t one of you atheists explain singularity to me: how was the universe created from one point, if no one was there to observe that point in creation? Frankly I don’t care much to support any religion, but, atheist ramblings are also pretty annoying. ANyways, here something that’ll bring you guys a smile to your face :) :

      http://www.ffrf.org/fttoday/1997/october97/fahringer.html

    73. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 4:19 pm  

      I still don’t know what the obvious point of this post is.

      TFI

    74. Sahil — on 13th October, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

      The point is that dogmatic atheism is just as faith-based as any religious belief and the snobbish attitude of atheists is annoying. You and Dawkins can’t prove that god doesn’t exist! It’s untestable, just as much as the concept of singularity (cherished by many theoretical phycists) is also pretty faith based. Don’t even get me started on string theory and how dodgy that is. As the description of ‘militant atheist’ is bandied about, i thought I’d link to an article that’s actually meant to provide atheists with the usual arguments they’d use to seperate themselves from religious fundamentalists. BTW communism was really ‘militant’ atheism.

    75. Don — on 13th October, 2006 at 6:21 pm  

      Sahil,

      Thanks for the link, nice article.

      ‘Atheism simply responds by arguing that god is not possible, so they’re all stupid inbred hicks’

      You need to meet a better class of atheist.

      ‘Don’t even get me started on string theory ‘

      You have my word on it.

      It would be interesting to have a post where we could explore this (atheism, not string theory!), but I’m only half way through ‘The God Delusion’ and without a full understanding of my sacred text I might make an error of dogma.

      By the way;

      http://www.jesusandmo.net/

    76. Sahil — on 13th October, 2006 at 6:27 pm  

      Actually I think that would be a great discussion. Why does atheism feel it can replace faith. And is that even possible (I guess it can because loads of people are atheists). But does that just make them have a naive belief in rationlity, or science. And is aethism just as dogmatic? What do you think Sunny? Possible??

      BTW Don, great toon, but still doesn’t beat that Mo cartoon: “stop, stop we’ve run out of virgins”

    77. razib — on 13th October, 2006 at 6:49 pm  

      sahil, i know quite a bit about religion, and i don’t i i don’t think atheism can banish religion, nor do i think it is as dogmatic as religion. i do think some definitions of god can be falsified or shown to be incoherent. in any case case, here are posts that give my perspective:

      Atheism, Heresy and Hesychasm
      The God Delusion - Amongst the unbelievers

    78. mirax — on 13th October, 2006 at 7:07 pm  

      I can’t be bothered to respond, Sahil, to your mish-mash of a rant against atheism. Still here’s jesus and mo on the ‘militant’ atheists- watch out! they are coming to get ya for dissing their ‘faith’…
      http://www.jesusandmo.net/

    79. mirax — on 13th October, 2006 at 7:10 pm  

      oh dear Don, we atheists all think so alike, don’t we?!

    80. mirax — on 13th October, 2006 at 7:12 pm  

      >>naive belief in rationlity, or science.

      hehe says a man who would rather ride the camel to work than fly a plane.

    81. mirax — on 13th October, 2006 at 7:17 pm  

      kisses and hugs to Raz who seems to have missed me somewhat. Am too poring over clour charts, fabric swatches and whatnot dear boy, not to mention being bled dry of the green stuff. prob’ly won’t linger.

    82. mirax — on 13th October, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

      damn, so many typos!

      “Am too busy poring over colour charts, fabric swatches”

    83. Don — on 13th October, 2006 at 7:35 pm  

      Razib,

      A thoughtful review of Dawkins. I’m an admirer but, like you, not without areas of reservation. For example, I found chapter five to be persuasive but not entirely convincing, partly because I have a strong regard for the theory of group selection.

      However, I can’t agree with your point that,
      ‘Moderate religionists maybe the “gateway drug” to fundamentalism, but they are here to stay, and we should learn to make our peace with them in the ways possible, because they stand with unbelievers against the fundamentalists on many issues’ as this seems to me to be in some ways a restatement of the non-overlapping magisterium argument. For all my admiration for Gould, a true gentleman and scholar whose elegant essays shaped my early thoughts on our origins, I have to side with Dawkins and Dennet on this.

      I look forward to setting aside some time to reading Atheism, Heresy and Hesychasm and thrashing out some ideas.

    84. justforfun — on 13th October, 2006 at 8:01 pm  

      Mirax - welcome back. while you’ve been away the forces of the faithfull have been regrouping, but it seems Jai has brought Razib to help us aetheists.

      PS this might help to get your flat all co-ordinated. Put in a colour and get complimentary colours, even different shades of brown. ;-)

      http://www.colorblender.com/

      Justforfun.

    85. ZinZin — on 13th October, 2006 at 8:13 pm  

      I saw both stories before and that’s why I’ve been banging on about this freedom of speech issue. WHilst most people don’t receive death threats when they air their views, they may lose contracts, book deals and get ostracized from their social network. They are not held as champions of freedom of speech.

      Is this the same Sahil who was blase about the death threats faced by Monsieur Redeker?

    86. Don — on 13th October, 2006 at 8:16 pm  

      Mirax,

      Well, if we didn’t think the same we’d have to burn one another, no?

    87. Don — on 13th October, 2006 at 8:25 pm  

      Damn, I’m forgetting my manners. Al Hack, this was your post on Christian and Jewish intolerance. Sorry to have wandered off. What are your views on atheist intolerance?

    88. Sunny — on 13th October, 2006 at 9:10 pm  

      Just to add to this debate about god vs atheism.

      I find it very western centric to be honest. There is a discussion in Sikh and especially Hindu philosophy and Buddhist philosophy about atheism and what the meaning of ‘god’ should be. So it’s not like people who are religious have not thought about it. I find it’s more the semitic religions who consider atheism to be blasphemous, while Hinduism has its own atheist strand and extensive conversations on atheism and the meaning of god.

      I haven’t read them yet, I should point out. But they do exist, I have enough of an overview on Indian philosophy to know that.

      One of these days that would be a separate debate.

    89. Desi Italiana — on 13th October, 2006 at 9:56 pm  

      Oh my god (no pun intended)-

      Are people on PP having a religious identitiy crisis? Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindu. [Take a deep breath] Muslims, Christians, Muslims. Muslims, Muslims, Muslims. Sikhs. Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims. Muslims, Muslims, Muslims.

      Is there ANYTHING ELSE that is going on in the UK that doesn’t involve religion? Anything at all?

      “One of these days that would be a separate debate.”

      “Debate?” All of PP is mostly debate on religion :)

      (Not trying to knock you or anything, Sunny. I still love you, and I still read PP.)

    90. razib — on 13th October, 2006 at 10:12 pm  

      according to my reading the big deal with groups like the carvaka was not that they were atheistic, rather, they rejected any validity to dharma.

    91. shiva — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:24 pm  

      Sunny, on atheism, well said. The opposition of Theism and Atheism make absolutely no sense in the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain tradition; and the idea of god even less. Razib, Chakravarthi Ram Prasad http://tinyurl.com/ydyeu5 book “Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought” is a good place to start. Ramprasad’s discussion of Purva Mimamsa would leave you questioning what Dharma is. Unfortunately most of what we know about the Carvaka is from the writings of others about them. Sadly a tortured reading of Indian philosophy which is what passes of for mainstream scholarship leaves us conjuring controversies out of thin air. Very little work has been done on accessing the cultural experiences that led to these streams of thought. The Balu, de Roover and their collaborators at the Ghent University are doing some of the most significant work in the last 100 years on these issues. Unless we go beyond a simplistic translation of Sanskrit (leave alone the Tamizh and Prakrit complexities) terms so as to subject them to superficial analyses the essence of these ideas will forever remain beyond our grasp.

    92. razib — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:32 pm  

      shiva, you said:
      the essence of these ideas will forever remain beyond our grasp.

      let me be frank: i have read a lot of evolutionary anthropology and cognitive psychology and “higher religions” are, in my opinion, a philosophical gibberish concocted by clerical elites to justify their positions. fundamentally, i believe all religions have the same ‘meta-representations’ of supernatural agents in their mind’s eye. if you read theological incorrectness by d. jason slone you see through his research that therevada buddhism in places like sri lanka can be deocmposed into two stark forms: elite buddhism which is philosophical and often agnostic in regard to theism, and mass buddhism which is operationally theistic.

      to make a long story short, i believe

      a) most people naturally accept the validity of supernatural agents, no matter the names that they give this agent. only a small % of humans reject this for a variety of reasons, and the cynics, epicureans, carvakas, zunxi, are all manifestations of this counter-trend.

      b) philosophical gibberish is important for religious professionals to justify their existence, and the names matter so that different factions can make sure they know who to kill when the killing time is on hand, but really there is not “essence” there.

    93. Chairwoman — on 14th October, 2006 at 12:28 am  

      Razib - I do like your cynical take on religion.

    94. El Cid — on 14th October, 2006 at 12:38 am  

      gibberish is important for IT professionals to justify their existence,

    95. El Cid — on 14th October, 2006 at 12:40 am  

      I dunno why i’c picking on IT, could be any number of professions

    96. razib — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:00 am  

      Razib - I do like your cynical take on religion.

      well, i probably sound more cynical than i really am. my only point is that there are many dimensions of religion, and what is true of one axis is not true of another. philosophical religion gets a lot of play because the elites play that game, but it isn’t the totality of religion and in fact isn’t really how religion is lived. i’ve read aquinas’ summa and other works of philosophical religion and it strikes me as gibberish.

      gibberish is important for IT professionals to justify their existence,

      as such a professional myself i see the point, but, the difference between theology and other sciences of deduction from axioms is that theology doesn’t really have a genuine inferential structure. i would argue that ‘theological consensus’ is socially mediated and determined, it does not emerge clearly and precisely from a set of distinct axioms. this is explains why theology varies so greatly by the age though the axioms are presumably the same.

    97. razib — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:07 am  

      to be clear, i view religion like a climatic system, a force of nature. i don’t expect to banish low pressure systems which get out of control anytime soon, but it is important to know how such cyclones manifest themselves in our world so that we may make preparations.

    98. Sukhjit Singh — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:13 am  

      Good metaphor Razib. Religion is not going to dissapear in our lifetimes, but it is best to forecast and watch how the storms blow. Excellent explanation.

    99. shiva — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:15 pm  

      Razib,

      Jason Sloan’s hypothesis isn’t at all surprising. If you aren’t ready yet for a Ram-Prasad’s book you could start with this paper by Jakob De Roover “An Unhappy Lover of Theology: Feuerbach and Contemporary Religious Studies” http://jaar.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/71/3/615.

      Atheism or agnosticism is not a rejection of ‘religion’ or ‘religious belief’. It is simply one of those waypoints in the pilgrim’s progress.

    100. razib — on 14th October, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

      shiva, thanks for the tip, but just so you know i have qualms with ‘religious studies’ as a scholarly discipline in regards to its methodology. the short of it is that i reject its foundational axioms as i understand them.

    101. Sahil — on 16th October, 2006 at 10:30 am  

      Mirax: Taking a camel to work would probably more efficient, as my office is 5 minutes away. Taking a taxi to heathrow and parachuting to work would be less efficient, so as a rational agent I’ll take the camel ;)

      Zin Zin: Yes, if you had looked at my post without your usual confirmation bias you’d have seen that my issue is with the usual freedom of speech yada yada. It’s lame, people are denied freedom of speech all the time, that’s what the Al Hack stories above shows. Again I ask why should the Frech tax payer pay for Rederker’s security, why don;t you set up a charity to provide him with body guards if you’re so concerned with his security.

      Razib: agree with both points on post #92. However like you’ve mentioned, people will not simply replace faith or superstition with strict rationality anytime soon. Whether that’s the tooth fairy of big Mo, people it seems hard-wired to look for something bigger than themselves, or something fluffy and safe. Again I ask Atheists to show or prove to me that god does NOT exist. If you can do that, than I’ll sign up with Dawkins.

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