Friday, 17 April 2009

Criticising religion? What cheek! (I jest, of course.)

After reading this morning Wonderboy's blog (Idle Eyes and a Dormy) on same-sex marriage I also saw an item which is not a million miles away from the subject. It seems that there has been, up to now, over 100 complaints about an episode of 'Coronation Street', this country's most-watched TV soap, in which one of its oldest and most stalwart characters criticises his son for allowing the grandson to be 'indoctrinated' by religion in a school which also teaches Creationism. This same character goes on to refer to God as a 'supernatural being' and, horror of horrors, faith as 'superstition'! The sheer audacity of it! But not to worry, the Broadcasting Standards Authority is going to consider the complaints. (Consider? What is there to consider? Just tell the complainants to "EFF OFF!") By the way, I ought to point out that the programme is fiction, for goodness' sake, although some of us may prefer that it wasn't. This is precisely the same myopic mindset that brought about the 'Satanic Verses' furore/fiasco.
Richard Dawkins argues, why do we allow religionists the prerogative of being allowed to complain that their feelings have been offended when we don't allow the same unique privilege for any other facet of life? If members of a political party said that certain remarks aimed at their views were 'hurtful' they would, quite reasonably, be the object of derision. My observation also informs me that more often than not such persons who maintain their right not to be offended are also those who mock so-called 'political correctness'. Of course we hear about the cases where the latter has been taken to extremes but I think that in many such circumstances the heart is usually in the right place viz. not wishing to hurt people by abuse aimed at what they are, which cannot be changed (even if it was wished) rather than the opinions they hold, which at least can be argued about. But what is 'belief' but opinion? So why the special "you're not allowed to offend me" treatment? With religion it goes even further. It's selective. Included are only the three Abrahamic religions plus Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism (There may be a couple more - though what I know about Buddhism in particular is that in the West at least they take little notice of being criticised. Would that the others were so mature.) But I would defy the others to defend Paganism, Animism. Humanism and other polytheist or atheist beliefs with the same zeal that they moan about their own 'persecution'. Oh well, I'd better stop now before my blood pressure hits the ceiling.

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