Blasphemy, do we need laws against it?
I note from the Guardian that the Irish Doyle is suggesting that there should be, in Ireland, an extension of the blasphemy laws to include all offences to religion whatever they may be.
To represent their rights, and in response to the new law, atheists have published 25 anti-religious quotations on their website Quotes are from well known figures including Richard Dawkins, Björk, Frank Zappa and the former Observer editor and Irish ex-minister Conor Cruise O'Brien (deceased). They are opposing the law by trying to be as blasphemous as possible; I guess they are hoping to increase publicity by being taken to court.
In Pakistan, India and other places where blasphemy laws exist, it seems to me that they are often used by people not against blasphemy per se but rather to settle other scores, for example property disputes, or just to attack people that you don't like; or as is often the case, attack people with another belief system with which you don't agree.
Why do we want to stop people saying things against that which we believe? Is it because the essence of what we believe is not strong enough to defeat such opposition? If the arguments in support of my belief system are so strong that your arguments cannot stand against them; is it truly the right way forward that in your desperation to stop me speaking about my belief you feel your only option is my silence or my death Is your opinion and your argument so weak that you cannot build a case against me with words? Can you only deal with me by stopping me speaking or even killing me?
My mail indicates to me that it is not the so called 'religious' people who are guilty of such extremes. I have emails from a very learned atheist telling me that they would like to silence me, and that if they had the power they would most certainly use it to see to it that my views had no air time! "Soon the mental child-abuse you inflict upon innocent children will be outlawed. BA(hons) MA" (direct quote from an email I received after I had appeared in a TV debate about about God) In regard to TV debates, even the view being portrayed is not necessarily dealing with the real argument, my side of those real arguments are often on the cutting-room floor.