When someone shouts out “God is great!” while killing others, it’s not the statement that offends me. My sympathy is with the poor bastard whose brains have been splashed on the wall of their office, and the people at the Jewish deli who were shot for buying groceries there. So much has happened, it hardly feels like the first anniversary of the terrorist Charlie Hebdo murders.
People do not want you to point out that others praise God as they blow themselves to paradise. Let the blood stain the corpses, but do not notice the splashback upon God, His word, or the religion of many peace loving followers. Either we accept people can have the God Delusion so bad they will kill men, women and children and claim it inspired by the will of the Almighty, or religion naturally inspires a fundamentalism which will kill as a means justified by divine ends, for far too many.
Charlie Hebdo drew attention to this in their front cover – “the assassin still at large.” Rather than those that murder with God on their lips as they widow and orphan with their finger tips, it was the cartoonists in the firing line for criticism.
Theo Hobson wrote the cover was not courageous:
It feels dishonest, timid: a refusal to face the fact that it’s a particular form of religion that is the problem.
Continuing a publication after most of your staff have been shot dead for blasphemy, and continuing to literally draw attention to how God drives some people to the rationale it is ok to assassinate others, does not count as brave for Hobson:
… it suits satirists to see religion in general as the problem: it can then seem like they are bravely attacking something strong.
Charlie Hebdo employees died for pointing out the sanctimonious, prudish, and hypocritical nature of religion. God is Love, and if you do not agree some are willing to send you to hell, just to prove how idiotic their theological reasoning is.
Hobson wants us to recognise humanism owes its existence to religion. There is a debt to people of various religions who looked for a universal concept that could unite humanity beyond a religious sectarianism. I would argue that same spirit of humanism is still there for people not giving in to fundamentalism and sectarianism. I thank humanity, not God, that it exists at all. Religion tries too hard to create a shibboleth to divide us from each other, if we dare to live pluralistic lives.
Laughter at the divine, is a threat to the church far more than the violence by the religious can be. For when we laugh, there is no fear – we are no longer told by others how we should feel. We see The Emperor is naked, and like children in a new garden of Eden we proclaim it with joy and abandon. Some want to stop the laughter. There are not enough bullets in the world to do so.
The Vatican owned newspaper apparently commented:
“This episode isn’t something new because, behind the deceitful flag of an uncompromising secularism, the French magazine once again forgets what religious leaders of different beliefs have been repeating for a long time to reject violence in the name of religion.
“Using God to justify hatred is an authentic blasphemy, as Pope Francis repeatedly said.”
The concept of God is used to inspire, indoctrinate, and command sectarian hatred of others. Drawing attention to what is done in His name is being factual.
Forget the people killed, oppressed, or beaten for not following divine laws. It is illustrating how religion will continue to inspire hatred, and be excused as whiter than white, that is the problem. Ignore the elephant in the room that has a tendency to squash people.
The blood of the lamb is not the only thing to be splashed on the white bridal linen of the church – Holy Father, shall we count not using contraceptives and banning life saving abortions, as a hatred against women? People are still dying because of theocracy, and armed fundamentalists are very God willing to kill.
That offends me far more than a satirical front cover ever could. Blasphemy gets in the way of telling it like it is. Which is why so many want to tell you how offended they are at how God is painted, while those doing the illustrating and writing, across the world, need our support for fear of the assassins coming for them.
The timidity is not to say anything. The bravery is speaking when you know the cost.
Bravo Charlie Hebdo. Bravo.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog