The Dangers of NOT Offending Religious Sensibilities

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, there has been much soul searching regarding free speech, religion, what is and isn’t offensive, and public safety. In my first blog post here at Wrest In Peace, in the spirit of battling with words and not weapons, I wanted to take this topic head-on and without apology. So here goes…

First, I think that there has been a fundamental error in how much of this discussion has been framed. Too many people, mostly those who wish to not have their “religious sensibilities” offended and their weak-kneed allies, are asking the question of what are limits to free speech and should “offensive” speech which attacks and/or ridicules religion be allowed? This viewpoint isn’t to be dismissed as trivial in light of the fact that almost 20% of Americans think religion shouldn’t be satirized. Continue reading

Bad Argument — It takes religion to make good people do bad things

There is an oft-quoted argument from Steven Wienberg that, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.”  Now, I’m a secular Humanist, and do not believe in the existence of any god; but this argument is a bad argument.  It is simply not true.

We could quickly amend his statement to make it true: simply change “religion” to “extreme ideology”, and you will have a true statement.  Consider.  Good people have done bad things in the name of politics, in … Continue reading