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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Da Vinci Code Blasphemous?

In church on Sunday, the preacher said that the Da Vinci Code was blasphemy. Now, he didn't use this as a fire and brimstone comment, but almost as an off-the-cuff remark. He was speaking of Jesus as one without sin and the sin represented in the Da Vinci Code was impossible. That got me thinking, what is....
Blasphemy is the defamation of the name of God. These may include using sacred names as stress expletives without intention to pray or speak of sacred matters. Sometimes blasphemy is used loosely to mean any profane language, for example in "With much hammering and blasphemy, the locomotive's replacement spring was finally fitted.".

In this broader sense the term is used by Sir Francis Bacon in the Advancement of Learning, when he speaks of "blasphemy against learning". Many cultures disapprove of speech or writing which defames the God or gods of their established religions, and these restrictions have the force of law in some countries.
There are two thoughts I have:
1. Is is really blasphemy
2. Who cares?
Firstly, yes, it can be considered disturbing to people where their beliefs are shredded into fictional idiocy such as that expressed in The Da Vinci Codes. And people are allowed to be disturbed by this and they are. So, it is blasphemous to some.

But then I ask, "Who cares?" I never allow people's speech to disturb me particularly when it comes to matters of the heart and faith. My faith and my belief in the strength of Jesus and what he stands for can never be challenged so why should anything anyone says disturb me? He, by definition, cleanses our sins and also cleans the stains created by the fiction of The Da Vinci Code. He is so much stronger than anything that some simple mortal can say against him. So, I really don't care about The Da Vinci Code, its amusing in plot and imagination.

Now, this also leads me to think about what people will do? Will there be rioting, killings, mayhem and destruction by Christians such as that that we experience when the woefully weak hearted Moslems get a dose of modern reality? Gateway Pundit chronicals the protests. Maybe, but I seriously doubt it. Will Christians issue the Christian equivalent of fatwas [there isn't a Christian equivalent] for the death of Tom Hanks or Director Ron Howard? Surely not.

Who cares what the people of little faith think? But if we can't learn to behave in the face of what some may consider adversity, then it is our problem. Muslims have proven how weak their religion and beliefs are to something as innocuous as the Danish Muhammad cartoons with over-the-top reactions that included killings and, rioting and deadly threats.

As the early philosophers such as Hobbes and Locke wrote, people have to be tolerant of other religions and this tolerance, I suppose, also has to extend to those that are non-believers. In order to have a civil society, tolerance has be fundamental to the functioning of that society.

Just a little note, tolerance is not a one way street either. When I attended church with my folks last summer, we went to a church where my father used to preach. The minister asked that people go with him to visit local Muslims to offer our support. I suppose that he was concerned that people may turn on Muslims in the community in retribution for the horrific violence unleashed by Muslims extremists earlier that week when they slaughtered innocent people on London mass transit.

I think that was a fine display of what he considers tolerance on his part and an olive branch was offered to Muslims despite the horrific violence perpetrated by their 'brothers.' This misguided effort, however, is not the tolerance that Hobbes and Locke is talking about. They are arguing that the Muslims have to be tolerant of us and not going around indiscriminately slaughtering people in the name of God or their religion. WE are not required to be tolerate of them murdering us.

Soon afterward, the preacher mocked southern Christians for their 'intolerance.' I wonder what he means? Does he think that these southern Christians kill others in the name of God? No, I do not think so. Maybe southern Christians do not think that gays should be allowed to marry or maybe do not support the social and economic agendas promoted by north-east liberal preachers such as himself. Is this intolerance or is this just political reality?

My own opinion is that modern liberalism is incapable of dealing with or tolerating the opinions of others since it has become an issue of faith more-so than a social contract issue or one that is workable within a civilized society. Modern liberalism has adopted much more than classical liberalism
in that they believe that lack of economic opportunity, education, health-care, and so on can be considered to be threats to their conception of liberty.
So if one does not believe what the modern liberal believes, then that one is the agent of intolerance not a person with a different set of values. So, it looks to me as if this preacher appears to be a modern liberal that cannot tolerate the 'intolerance' of non-believers in modern liberalism despite the fact that they read the same bible and are similar in faith. Modern liberalism has become so brittle.

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