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Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:31 am
Good Word suggestion, along with blaspheme.
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:36 am
Blasphemy has a tragic current usage in the world. In many countries blasphemy is a crime. This is not just in Muslim countries. It is also in major European countries. When blasphemy is a crime, it plays havoc with freedom of speech. In the USA one can incite to violence and thus commit a crime. This law can sometimes stifle free speech. A pastor has to watch his sermon for fear of offending someone when talking against sin.
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:02 pm
Nah, Philip, it's only against some sins that get him in trouble, varying depending on location. The classic example is from the prophet Amos, where he inveighed against six peoples and their sins to great applause. In the seventh oracle he lambasted his audience, and a chapter or two later called the local society matrons a bunch of drunken heifers (literally), which went over like you might expect.
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:14 pm
blasphemy (n.) early 13c., from Old French blasfemie "blasphemy," from Late Latin blasphemia, from Greek blasphemia "a speaking ill, impious speech, slander," from blasphemein "to speak evil of." Second element is pheme "utterance" (see fame); first element uncertain, perhaps related to blaptikos "hurtful," though blax "slack (in body and mind), stupid" also has been suggested.
blaspheme (v.) mid-14c., from Old French blasfemer "to blaspheme" (14c., Modern French blasphémer), from Church Latin blasphemare (also in Late Latin "revile, reproach"), from Greek blasphemein "to speak lightly or amiss of sacred things, to slander," from blasphemos "evil-speaking" (see blasphemy). A reintroduction after the original word had been worn down and sense-shifted to blame. Related: Blasphemed; blaspheming.
Writing, interpreting, and enforcing civil law governing interactions between human beings has been challenge enough throughout history. Attempting to protect incorporeal entities is a bit of a stretch in jurisdiction. Blasphemy laws are foolish because everyone on the planet
is guilty of blasphemy by the terms of one religion or another. While the inherent problems with such laws are apparent to observers outside of a given (insular) religious community, the lesson is more difficult to see within their own, even in increasingly pluralistic societies.
Ideally, all people have the right to their own religious beliefs and free expression thereof. In reality, those beliefs and expressions are constantly bumping up against the differing beliefs and expressions of their neighbors (even neighbors under the same religious umbrella). Attempts to 'protect' religious expressions tend to become the means of imposing those expressions on others, with a might-is-right majority determining which one prevails in a given population. Reality (e.g.: does human sacrifice bring rain?; does the Sun orbit a flat Earth? for two quick examples)
is not determined by either fiat or vote, no matter how much tradition, authority, or conviction is invoked to enforce conformity for fear of committing blasphemy.
Restricting civil law to preventing harm and adjudicating in the event of harm does not require institutionalizing beliefs outside observable reality. To that end, free speech laws should protect expressions of dissent from other individual opinions, and dissent from majority opinions, without fear of reprisal. However, if those expressions are intended to foment violence, encourage intimidation or bullying, or actively interfere with others' rights to peacefully go about their lives, then it is a civil matter. Attempts to dominate through blasphemy laws have no place in a civilized society.
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:29 pm
gailr: You are preaching to the choir in this forum. Your sermon states my beliefs written large. Thank you.
Sometimes inciting to violence is an unintended consequence of expression of beliefs. Sometimes it is deliberate. The anti-abortionist preachers sometimes incite their followers to violence. My Bible says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath" (Provebs 15:1 KJV).
Several years ago a church in Oklahoma "withdrew fellowship" from a woman (translation: kicked her out) because she was deliberately flaunting the laws of the church. She sued the church and won a financial settlement. It wasn't a Baptist church. I won't tell the denomination.
An old deacon in the church of my childhood grabbed a guest-preacher by the scruff of his neck, dragged him to the door, and threw him down the steps for preached a divisive sermon. That was in a Baptist church and the preacher was damning all non-Baptists to Hell. He deserved what he got and the old deacon was applauded. Hey, I grew up in the wild, wild west.
Perry: I love old Amos. Those kine of Bashan (heifers) were lounging on beds of ivory while doing their evil deeds. The heifers got their local preacher to strongly suggest that Amos go back to Judah from whence he came. Amos hung-in.
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:59 pm
When you have free speech and religion focused on individual choice, blasphemy may result in disfellowship or condemnation, but not imprisonment nor death. Christianity in the Middle Ages would kill "heretics" for disseminating unapproved ideas. Radical Islam does that today. Blasphemy should be legal everywhere, even if considered a sin.
Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:55 pm
Some people like to mind other people's business. My grandpa was a master at doggerel verse, both in composing and reciting it. I just Googled and found that my grandpa didn't compose this little ditty, but he sang it and it fitted him:
“I can go down town in a Salem wagon,
Come back home with the axle draggin',
It's nobody's business what I do.
If I step on a banana peeling,
My foot slips and I hit the ceiling,
Still it's nobody's business what I do."
The Bible says that (in the Kingdom) everyone shall sit under his/her own vine and her/his own fig tree. ( Micah 4:4 Hudson's paraphrase) This not only predicts peace; it insures individuality. We should celebrate the individuality of all people. Out of this celebration, there can come harmony, but not conformity.
Of course we have to be in community and keep the fragile peace. But we must tolerate the one who marches to the tune of a different drummer.
Anti-blasphemy laws just plain stifle freedom.
Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:34 pm
I was trying to avoid
a sermonizing tone.
In a wordplay sense, my favorite lighthearted use of this word was Eddie Izzard singing, à la
Ethel Merman, "Blas for me! Blas! for you! Blas for ev-'ry-one-in-the-room!"
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:07 pm
Has England been hiding Eddie Izzard from us? Thank you Gailr for introducing me to him. I have Youtubed him thoroughly. Izzard's light comedy is not blasphemy when he talks about religious things. He subtly makes some pretty good points. He is probably a Christian (perhaps closet). How else would he know all these things. Eddie, if you choose another religion to spoof, watch out for the assassins. And I am dead serious.
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:30 pm
I'm glad you liked what you found on YouTube, Philip. Alas, Eddie doesn't do much standup anymore, focusing on television and film roles. My introduction to him was his pope jokes; (I was a cradle Catholic)
I thought they were pretty funny. The Cake or Death
site (from one of his CofE bits) has transcripts if you'd like to read how a whole show was put together. I should warn that his standup is laced with a handful of swear words which aren't that noticeable on the disks, but they do rather jump out in the transcripts. He drops French and German bits throughout his shows as well, and recorded Circle
in French! And I'll stop there before you check my post count to see whether I am some spammer for comedy...
Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:10 am
gailr: an advocate or enthusiast is not the same as a spammer.
Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:29 pm
But links in the text...always something to be wary of, no?
Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:08 pm
We seem to do more of them lately. But most links connect to articles about words, which is appropriate. So far we haven't strted pushing our blogs. Personally, I liked Izzy.
Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:25 am
"Eddie Izzard" is, as the English would say, "Brilliant!" He shines the light on "it", and all is reveal even the uncomfortable truths.
I have often sat in rooms with heretics spouting heresies, but blasphemy is not to my taste. Hate and violence are to common in the world, best it stays off the pulpit. What is the distinction between blasphemy & heresies?
Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:55 pm
Blasphemy has, until recently, been unlawful speech against a religion or its leaders. There are no anti-blasphemy laws in The USA. In Europe now, many countries have anti-blasphemy laws that amount to a law against showing disrespect to anyone or anything. These laws stifle freedom and should be repealed. Islamic countries have strong anti-blasphemy laws but they only apply to people who speak against Islam or Islamic people. Some Muslims believe their anti-blasphemy laws should be universal and sometimes they treat them that way. Muslims have killed people who, according to them, blasphemed Islam even when it happened in a country with no anti-blasphemy laws. All anti-blasphemy laws are clearly a denial of freedom of speech.
The closest we get to anti-blasphemy laws in the USA is hate-crime laws. If you look closely in to hate-crime laws you may agree with me that they are unconstitutional in The USA. I hope the US Supreme Court examines these laws and finds them unconstitutional. Of course, I am against hate-crimes. But how can one factor hate into the commission of a crime? If someone assaults a homosexual, the attacker should be tried and, if found guilty, punished. It is the assault that is the crime. The criminal’s attitude about homosexuals should have nothing to do with his punishment. Inciting to violence is another matter. If partisan A says that partisan B is wrong, he/she has that right. If partisan A says that partisan B is wrong and needs to be killed, this may be inciting to violence and should not be tolerated. It is similar to shouting, “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. This has always been criminal. There is no need for any new laws.
Heresy is the status of a religion that is different to some significant degree from one's own religion. The heretic does not consider himself to be a heretic. Christians do not consider Buddhists or Hindus to be heretics. They are considered to be entirely different religions. Mormons consider Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants to be heretics and Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants consider Mormons to be heretics. Here we have two similar but significantly different religions claiming to be the "true" religion. "I" cannot be a heretic. If there is a heretic, has to be "you/him/her". Christians and Muslims may each consider the other to be heretics or they may think of the other as a different religion. I personally believe that Islam is a Judeo-Christian heresy and Mormonism is a Christian heresy. If you read the Koran, you will clearly see the Christian and Jewish roots of Islam. If you read the Mormon Bibles (there are more than one) you will see their claim to be Christians are totally different from other Christian criteria. If they think about me at all, Muslims and Mormons definitely consider me to be a heretic. In the past, some Catholics and Protestants considered each other to be heretics. I have always considered Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants to be different rites of the same Christian religion. To me, Judaism is an entirely different religion than Christianity. I strongly assert the rights of all people to have freedom of religion. Note that I do not respect the actual religions. I respect the right of an individual to have the religion of his/her choice. There is a great difference. I consider myself to be a Christian scholar but, of course, not everyone agrees with me.