yesterday, once again, people were murdered because they had dared to express views which offended someone else’s deeply-held beliefs, and that someone else’s deeply-held beliefs happen to include a belief that it’s ok to murder people who offend their beliefs.
the newspaper I read called it, quite rightly, an attack on freedom.
and yet, some of the reactions I’ve seen online have been expressing a very similar intolerance, just from a different angle: people who want to ban religion – they are attacking my freedom, perhaps not with guns but with words. they are wanting to take away my freedom to follow my God, and to express my beliefs.
yes, my beliefs sometimes offend people. just as some atheists’ beliefs offend me. I’m not calling to ban atheism – even though I believe it to be a vile and dangerous way of thinking, responsible for much of what’s wrong in this world. there, I said it – I’ve just offended atheists, and I totally reserve the right to do that, under exactly the same freedom of speech that I believe atheists should have, exactly the same freedom of speech which the guys at Charlie Hebdo were using until some people with guns turned up and silenced them.
My outrage about that murder yesterday is nothing to do with the content of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons – I don’t have to agree with their views, with what their cartoons were expressing, in order to share the outrage about the attack on their freedom to express themselves.
Intolerance is what was behind that murder yesterday. It happened to be intolerance in the name of a specific religion, but I see plenty of intolerance directed at religious people from atheists. (and no, not all atheists…)
P.S. that nonsense about religion being the root of evil is really getting old. please don’t bother spouting that rubbish on my posts. check out Stalin, check out Communist China, check out North Korea – there’s been plenty of evil done in the name of stamping out religion, plenty of people tortured, imprisoned and murdered for daring to stick to their faith in the face of atheist regimes. evil is, sadly, part of humanity. we can always find excuses to kill people. what we seem a lot less good at is showing love.