Est. May 2008

05 October, 2012

The Forbidden Fruit

Okay, I’ll admit it: when I first read that Russia’s Orthodox Church is demanding that Apple Computers remove it’s bitten-apple logo from machines sold in Russia because it’s offensive, I face-palmed.  Granted, I thought, the bitten-apple hearkens back to the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (even though it’s never specified what kind of fruit it was); I think, though, that because of the more outrageous types of, well, blasphemy we’ve dealt with (Piss Christ, Madonna in Dung, and the like), I found that demanding a company remove its ‘blasphemous’ logo (which it’s had for umpteen bazillion years, I guess) seemed rather ‘We-don’t-do-that-kind-of-thing-because-we’re-Christians-and-we-can-take-it’.

But the more I thought about it, the more I began to see something rather intriguing:
The Russian conservatives may get their way and force Apple to change its logo because of new laws being proposed in the country's parliament on blasphemy and insults targeting religious, spiritual, or national values.
So Russia’s got anti-blasphemy laws (I wasn’t aware of that); this ought to be a good example of just how far a country is willing to go to apply that kind of law equally, oughtn’t it?  I mean, in most of the anti-blasphemy law stuff we’ve been hearing, the talk is that it’ll be equally applied, but whether the walk is going to match the talk is still debated: there’s a certain specific religion (which shall remain nameless) which cries out for anti-blasphemy laws and, at the same time, blasphemes every other religion except their own, and tends to back up that kind of blasphemy with force – the rest of us call out blasphemy when we see it, demand action, but so far we don’t draw knives and guns to enforce it (okay, well, there was that one woman in Denver who took a crowbar to an offending piece of art, but the important thing is she didn’t take the crowbar to the artist).

Now, whether or not the Russians back the church in this case, one thing that tends to slip peoples’ minds is that every religion out there blasphemes every other religion out there in one way or another – in fact, the mere existence of other religions is blasphemous.  Why?  Because each religion has its own truth-claims, and the foundation of those truth-claims is that their truth is true, whereas other religions’ truth-claims are false – in short, those other religions are lying when they say their god is the only/most important god out there.  Since that’s saying their god isn’t a god, that’s pretty much the definition of blasphemy.

This ought to be reason enough why anti-blasphemy laws are a sick joke, but there’s at least one other thing that says so: every religion – in fact, every belief system – both evangelizes and proselytizes in one way or another.  Here’s why: everybody has a reason why they thing their belief system is right and everyone else’s is wrong.  Eventually in conversation, you’re going to be asked, ‘Why?’  At that point you’re going to ‘evangelize’ your belief by trying to explain why it’s right and others are wrong, and whether you’re doing it actively or passively, you’ll be trying to sway them to your ‘side’ of the discussion (trying to make a proselyte).  But by doing this, you’re going to have to speak negatively of other belief systems – and if they involve any kind of ‘god’ (and yes, I include atheism, agnosticism, humanism, and a bunch of other ‘isms’ under the ‘belief system’ umbrella), then you’re bad-mouthing their ‘god’ – hence, you’re blaspheming.

So what would anti-blasphemy laws do?  Stifle any sort of conversation – not just evangelism and/or proselytizing, but any and every discussion which involves argument (defined as discussion, not fisticuffs). 

Or, ‘Shut up, he explained.’

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