“For a while in my teens, I was sure I had it. It was about getting to heaven. If heaven existed and lasted forever, then a mere lifetime spent scrupulously following orders was a small investment for an infinite payoff. One day, though, I realized I was no longer a believer, and realizing that, I couldn’t go back.”
—Alan Alda, actor and freethinker
There is no religion existing today that has not rebelled or distanced itself from its religious roots, including Christianity and Islam. It appears that part of every religious community, at some time or another, becomes dissatisfied with its concepts, structure, revelation or theology and yearns to fill those gaps. As a result a new religion, or an overhauled one, comes into existence often with a person who declares a new and unprovable personal revelation of truth.
“When I hear from people that religion doesn’t hurt anything, I say, really? Well, besides wars, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, 9-11, ethnic cleansing the suppression of women, the suppression of homosexuals, fatwas, honor killings, suicide bombings, arranged marriages to minors, human sacrifices, burning witches, and systematic sex with children, I have a few quibbles.” –Bill Maher
“Religion is a great comfort for people in a world torn apart by religion”-Jon Stewart
I am mystified by the discussion that assumes we are to find a way as a culture to tolerate the views of extreme Muslims. Why? If we don’t do that for anyone else why Muslims? It is about fear, plain and simple. We are trying to accommodate them to save our flesh. That is not the way of the West, hasn’t been, shouldn’t be.
There is no question that many religions in the West have taken the brunt of wild-eyed cartoonists and writers who represent their profession with secured boldness. Though many are disturbed by it, the sarcastic and searing taunts of the press have not been suppressed by our government or by our laws because we want to maintain our hard-fought freedoms. Why, for example, is it not appropriate to support Muslims with their ideas about displaying an image of their divine leader, Mohammed? It is appropriate. However, it is not appropriate for them to demand of others who do not adhere to their faith that they be prohibited from displaying his image.
Muslims, within their jurisdiction, can do as they please about this idea. No displaying of the prophet Mohammed by Muslims, but to expect us to adhere to their rules as non-adherents is asking too much. We are a Democracy not a Theocracy. (It is clear that many Muslims don’t believe that or are trying to convert us to a theocracy.) As long as we are a democracy we are free to post, print or preach whatever we desire. I will gladly support Muslims and their desire to enforce their laws but only amongst themselves. For all others? Islamic rules and regs are not ours to obey unless forced, and that is not the way of Democracy.
“I respect faith, but doubt is what gives you an education.” -Wison Mizner, Playwright