Friday, November 30, 2007


You may have heard the case of the teacher in Sudan who was imprisoned for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad," but they still want to kill her.

OK, than the fact that their religious argument is totally bogus (the bear was not intended as an image of Muhammad to begin with) totally drives me crazy. Really, the only response I've been able to have to this has been, "Nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure."

And I feel bad about that. I want to be tolerant and respectful of other beliefs and religions, even though in my opinion they are entirely wrong and very often harmful. The right to be wrong and the right to be offensive are fundamental to the right to freedom of thought and the freedom of speech.

So, here's the deal:

We all have to live in the same world. I agree to be tolerant of your beliefs regardless of any criteria, including but not limited to a) internal logical inconsistency, b) inconsistency with observation and c) inconsistency with my own beliefs, on the condition that the same tolerance is reciprocated to myself and all others offering the same conditions.

Is that so hard? I suppose it is, it directly contradicts the very foundation of radical Christianity, Islam, Scientology, or any other similar belief system. It's the "radical" part that is the problem - the non-radical religions already subscribe to the above agreement. Really, it's far from sufficient for having a peaceful, open society, but if we can't even have that agreement at least in principle, we're utterly screwed.

For anyone who doesn't like it, we have the glass parking lot.

(Now, the paranoid conspiratist in me would suggest that perhaps all of this nonsense is a ruse designed to piss off even people like me enough to allow wars of aggression to proceed... I hope the fact that I still worry about stuff like that means I can be balanced about the situation and recognize when I'm being tricked before it turns to disaster.)


In Search Of Me said...

Didn't the class want to name it Mohammed as a form of endearment and respect? Children love teddy bears. I don't get why Sudan wants her killed. I want her back home safe in British Columbia.

inverse said...

That may be possible, though that was neither stated nor implied in any report I've read. Regardless, endearment and respect is not idolatry any more than naming your child Muhammad would be.