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Source: (consider it) Thread: Is blasphemy still a thing?
Boogie

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"Police in Ireland are investigating a complaint of blasphemy regarding comments made by Stephen Fry on a television programme shown on Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTÉ.

Gardaí (police) in Dublin have contacted the man who reported the allegation following a broadcast in February 2015, and a full investigation is due to be carried out, the Irish Independent reported.

Under Ireland’s Defamation Act 2009 a person who publishes or utters blasphemous material “shall be guilty of an offence”. A conviction can lead to a fine of up to €25,000."

It seems odd to me that speaking against (any) God should be an offence under law - criminal?

What do you think?


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rolyn
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Well there is law, and then there is using your noddle as to what you do or don't say with regarding sensitive matters.

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Arethosemyfeet
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I would suggest that criticism of God is far less blasphemous than some of what I've heard from people in the pulpit who claim to be friends of His. Regardless of what you consider to be blasphemy, it's counterproductive to make it part of secular law. Apart from anything else if God is particularly offended he's more than capable of dealing with it himself.
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lowlands_boy
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This is surely a relic of the strong church/state ties in Ireland. In practical terms, how would you make such an offence stick in court?

Fry himself said

"I don't think I mentioned once any particular religion and I certainly didn't intend, and in fact I know I didn't say anything offensive towards any particular religion"

There only appears to have been one complainant, and the law defines the offence as "thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion".

I confidently predict that if a prosecution went ahead, Fry could comfortably raise millions of pounds from supporters to defend the case, and win or lose, then give all the rest of the money to some sort of cause that would piss the church off, like a pro abortion campaigner.

I don't think a prosecution will actually happen.

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Schroedinger's cat

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The thing is, the majority of what he said, I would concur with. I think he raised very important points. It is not blasphemy, it is questioning, it is exploring.

I do remember when he first made the comments someone on my FB timeline being utterly outraged at what he said (this person was on the definitively conservative side of Christianity). I tried to explain my perspective, but got nowhere.

I can understand the shock of this if you have never heard or asked these questions yourself. But that is just a learning experience, surely. His questions and challenges are held in some for by many people, even if not always so eloquently expressed.

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Russ
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The law was brought in by the grossly-incompetent Fianna Fail government of Brian Cowen.

The gardai are currently in the news for falsifying statistics, with the commissioner being described as "embattled" It seems highly likely that they're going through the motions of investigating this complaint in the vain hope of avoiding publicity.

As blasphemy laws go, it seems relatively restrained, prohibiting only gross insult that intentionally causes outrage among a substantial number of the followers of a religion.

I'd guess that Mr Fry's intent was to portray himself as someone who takes the problem of evil seriously - no crime involved.

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fletcher christian

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I've been trying to work this out and I think there are two possibilities. The Blasphemy law is an old hangover of the constitution which was altered by a High Court ruling in 2009 which meant there was less need for a referendum to repeal it. As it stands, I suspect it is covering what would otherwise be called a 'hate crime' but possibly specific to the religious sphere. Trouble is, there has been no case since to test that. So the possibilities are:
1. Someone is deliberately bringing a test case.
2. There's a bit of joker who thought it would be funny to test the bounds of a stupid law everybody else forgot about.
I think number 2 is probably the reality.

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Martin60
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Bring it on. Stephen was right to confront the blasphemy of projected God of evil culture. "How dare you!" indeed.

[ 07. May 2017, 09:54: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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chris stiles
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The thing is, as soon as one person complains and that complaint isn't immediately rejected, the police can be said to be investigating.
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Twilight

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I don't think there should be a law against it, but I have noticed an increasing tendency from comedians and commentators on TV to say things about how evil God is -- and get nothing but agreement and encouragement from the audience.

I feel like God isn't getting equal time. There's no one ever there to say that most believers think God created the world, but that he gave man free will and it is man who chooses to do evil.

Stephen Fry called God, "capricious, mean-minded, stupid," and then went on to be "astonished," that anyone was offended because he didn't name any one particular religion. I think it's Fry who's being rather capricious, mean-minded and stupid.

My favorite radio program is NPR's Moth story hour in which people tell stories about their own lives. Yesterday was a repeat of a young man telling a long story about gradually losing his Orthodox Jewish faith as he ate different non-kosher foods and "God didn't strike me dead." The audience just howled with laughter over every mention of things he wasn't allowed to eat, and his parents and rabbi's other rules. It was amusing in places, but it mainly struck me as sad.

The part that bothers me is the general assumption that we're all going to think religion and it's silly rules are just funny old fashioned things and, thank lower case god, we've all grown out of that.

[ 07. May 2017, 11:40: Message edited by: Twilight ]

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I feel like God isn't getting equal time. There's no one ever there to say that most believers think God created the world, but that he gave man free will and it is man who chooses to do evil.

...

The part that bothers me is the general assumption that we're all going to think religion and it's silly rules are just funny old fashioned things and, thank lower case god, we've all grown out of that.

But, who's at fault here? If people genuinely think that religion is just "silly rules", isn't that something we should be countering by the examples of our own lives? If people aren't saying "but people choose to do evil that causes suffering" then how can they hear that? It isn't the responsibility of (secular) law makers to define what religious people believe and do.

Besides, the "people choose to do evil" answer doesn't address the example Fry chose. A young child with bone cancer, how was that caused by people choosing evil? It's a dilemma that's millenia old, an man born blind - was that the result of his sin, or his parents? Both "God created, and what He created contains evils like childhood cancers" and "people have free will and choose not to follow God" are simplistic answers that don't address the real issues, and are equally wrong (in different ways). There is, and I suppose never will be, a simple answer. Which, of course, doesn't work well in a sound-bite culture.

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
So the possibilities are:
1. Someone is deliberately bringing a test case.
2. There's a bit of joker who thought it would be funny to test the bounds of a stupid law everybody else forgot about.
I think number 2 is probably the reality.

I'd go for 1 myself.

Instead of using blasphemy law, why not invite Fry to debate the matter. That would be interesting, and potentially constructive as well.

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Bishops Finger
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Mr. Fry is only saying what many posters on these boards say or think. Just as well we/they don't all live in the enlightened(?) Republic of Ireland.

I guess that this may be a throwback to the dreadful days when the Republic was firmly under the heel of the jackboot of the Roman Catholic Church.

Having lit the blue touch-paper, I shall now retire, collecting my coat on the way out, switching off the light, and quietly closing the door behind me.

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Martin60
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So what is the apologetic Alan?

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SvitlanaV2
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Ireland is secularising as we speak, so this case is only likely to hasten the day when the blasphemy law in Ireland is struck from the books. A referendum will be required, so I understand.
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Forthview
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One large part of the reason why Ireland was 'under the jackboot of the Roman Catholic church ' was because the island was for many centuries under the jackboot of the English who made things very difficult for the Irish. The Catholic Church was indeed the 'soul' of the nation. It has taken many decades for the Irish to be able to put aside the authority of the Church.

The same thing is happening now in Poland. For several centuries the Catholic church was the guarantor of the 'soul' of Poland. Now that Poland is relatively free of foreign occupation the people are less likely to pay attention to the ideas of the Church.

I'm not sure if there are still laws of blasphemy on the statute book in England but they were certainly invoked about twenty years ago in connection,I think, with a play about Roman soldiers.

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Stetson
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Forthview wrote:

quote:
I'm not sure if there are still laws of blasphemy on the statute book in England but they were certainly invoked about twenty years ago in connection,I think, with a play about Roman soldiers.
If you're thinking of the Gay News case, with the poem about the centurion getting it on with Jesus on the cross, I think that was more like forty years ago. Mid-70s, I believe.

As for the RCC in Ireland, would you characterize their relation to the British as being resistant, or collaborative? I ask because, in the Canadian province of Lower Canada(later Quebec), also Catholic and under British rule, the Church basically worked in tandem with the British to govern the place, and(according to certain commonly accepted versions of the history) keep the people submissive and docile.

So, in that case, to condemn the British is essentially to condemn the Church at the same time.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

What do you think?

Blasphemy laws are unjust anachronisms that inhibit freedom and, ultimately, hurt faith.
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:

I feel like God isn't getting equal time.

  • Which god?
  • Why should s/he?

quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
It is not blasphemy, it is questioning, it is exploring.


If you do not question your faith, I question whether you truly have faith.

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Twilight

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I feel like God isn't getting equal time. There's no one ever there to say that most believers think God created the world, but that he gave man free will and it is man who chooses to do evil.

...

The part that bothers me is the general assumption that we're all going to think religion and it's silly rules are just funny old fashioned things and, thank lower case god, we've all grown out of that.

But, who's at fault here? If people genuinely think that religion is just "silly rules", isn't that something we should be countering by the examples of our own lives? If people aren't saying "but people choose to do evil that causes suffering" then how can they hear that? It isn't the responsibility of (secular) law makers to define what religious people believe and do.

Besides, the "people choose to do evil" answer doesn't address the example Fry chose. A young child with bone cancer, how was that caused by people choosing evil? It's a dilemma that's millenia old, an man born blind - was that the result of his sin, or his parents? Both "God created, and what He created contains evils like childhood cancers" and "people have free will and choose not to follow God" are simplistic answers that don't address the real issues, and are equally wrong (in different ways). There is, and I suppose never will be, a simple answer. Which, of course, doesn't work well in a sound-bite culture.

The article I read about this didn't include Fry's bone cancer example. I don't have an answer for why those things happen. It was the, "God is stupid and evil," part that I read.

I said, very first thing, that I don't think there should be a law against blasphemy, so, obviously it wasn't secular law makers I was talking about when saying the other side wasn't given equal time. It was the TV shows who love to have guests like Fry but never anyone to speak for the other side. Of course it's their choice. I just don't have to like it.

I personally don't think children get cancer because God gave it to them. YMMV

[ 07. May 2017, 15:42: Message edited by: Twilight ]

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North East Quine

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Originally posted by Stetson:

quote:
If you're thinking of the Gay News case, with the poem about the centurion getting it on with Jesus on the cross, I think that was more like forty years ago. Mid-70s, I believe.
Late 70s. I studied that case at Uni in the early 1980s, and am dismayed to realise I recall nothing of it, bar Mr Lemon's name and that the case book had a green binding.
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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Forthview wrote:

quote:
I'm not sure if there are still laws of blasphemy on the statute book in England but they were certainly invoked about twenty years ago in connection,I think, with a play about Roman soldiers.
If you're thinking of the Gay News case, with the poem about the centurion getting it on with Jesus on the cross, I think that was more like forty years ago. Mid-70s, I believe.


It was deffo the 1970s. The Blasphemy Laws were finally erased from the UK Statute Books to a muted quaver from the C of E around the middle of the previous decade.

The thing is, you can have blasphemy laws only if you have an Established Church, to which all members of the judiciary belong. There was some foolish and weak talk of extending the laws to all religions during the Rushdie Affair which never came to anything. Now if you have an Established Church and its members dominate the bench then you can have judges ruling that this statement is blasphemous and this statement is not and such statements will be accepted, by and large, by the Established Church. But if an aggrieved Muslim brings a prosecution against Salman Rushdie, and a Judge, who is a member of a Liberal Synagogue, say, or a lapsed Catholic; rules that, on balance and in this instance, the claims of freedom of speech outweigh the legitimate concerns among Muslims about the literary treatment of the Prophet that will satisfy neither the aggrieved Muslims nor the secularists who think that Mr Rushdie should be able to speak his mind without being dragged before the courts. If Almighty God feels very strongly about unpunished instances of Blasphemous Libel it is well within His purview to make His feelings known on the subject. If we are to have pluralistic societies judges should stay well away from the matter.

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Stetson
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Callan wrote:

quote:
The thing is, you can have blasphemy laws only if you have an Established Church, to which all members of the judiciary belong.
Well, this was the presiding judge in the initial Gay News Case, which went AGAINST the defendant. Check out his religion.

Mind you, he wasn't the one who delivered the verdict, as it was a jury trial, and he also declined to jail the offenders.

And Canada, with no Established Church, still has "blasphemous libel" on the books. Don't think I've ever heard of a case going to court, though.

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leo
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The real blasphemy is what people inflict on human beings, who are made in God's image.

What Fry said was very good and to the point.

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Callan wrote:

quote:
The thing is, you can have blasphemy laws only if you have an Established Church, to which all members of the judiciary belong.
Well, this was the presiding judge in the initial Gay News Case, which went AGAINST the defendant. Check out his religion.

Mind you, he wasn't the one who delivered the verdict, as it was a jury trial, and he also declined to jail the offenders.

And Canada, with no Established Church, still has "blasphemous libel" on the books. Don't think I've ever heard of a case going to court, though.

That is very interesting.

But I don't think that had he directed the Jurors to find the defendants not guilty, we would have had Mrs Hairy Whitemouse standing on the steps of the Old Bailey solemnly telling the press that she had believed that the poem was blasphemous but since the judge's summing up she now realised that it was not.

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Forthview
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Stetson- as far as the RC church in Ireland and its relations with the British authorities is concerned ,it depends what period of time you are thinking of. The last direct martyr in a religious sense would have been Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, executed in 1681.Of course there would be undoubtedly many other martyrs for 'Ould Ireland' in the various controversies of the day, most, but not all, of whom would have been Roman Catholics. It goes without saying that the RC church guarded the 'soul' of Catholic Ireland,and that included the vast mass of the population,who were greatly disadvantaged because of their religion.

In much later times certainly by the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th the RC Church would have readily accepted the situation of British rule, preferring that to the ideas of socialism, then beginning to take root. The Catholic church certainly ,as perhaps many of the general population, did not support the Easter rising of 1916. The reaction of the British authorities to the Easter rising led to greater support on the part of the population and of the RC church for independence.

Again it goes without saying that at the point of independence and 'freedom' that the RC church which could be seen as the guarantor of the 'soul' of the nation would be given many privileges, just as the Church of England had and still has many privileges in England.

It is a moot point as to whether the Church,in general, not just the RC church, has historically a role in keeping the population generally docile to authority.

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
So what is the apologetic Alan?

Something that theologians, scholars, pastors (especially pastors) have been working through for 2 millennia and have still to work out. Certainly not something that can be distilled into a soundbite. Sorry Mr Trump, important things can't be communicated in 140 characters or less.

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Martin60
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Ooooh, I dunno. It's pretty bloody obvious that God cannot do better than meaningless suffering as the price of existence, but Christianity can do a bloody sight better than the dross it comes up with in the face of that.

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fletcher christian

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Posted by Balaam:
quote:

Instead of using blasphemy law, why not invite Fry to debate the matter. That would be interesting, and potentially constructive as well.

If this case were to bring about a referendum to enact it's repeal, Fry is the last person I would want leading the charge.

As it is, it can't. Since 2009, a change after a legal resolution in 1999 means the constitutional clause relates solely and entirely to what is called elsewhere in the Western world as 'hate crime'. There has never been a test case in Ireland to stretch the parameters of the law to cover other religions other than Christianity. There is no need to stretch it to take into account race or gender or anything else, as these are covered by separate laws. It's simply a law applying to Christianity at present - or at least it appears that way. There have been requests for referendums to remove it, but especially since the 2009 alteration in the High Court ruling you would be removing something quite important. As it stands it gives protection to entire communities from being the target of bigoted or abusive behaviour that has the intention to cause physical harm and illicit hatred for the purposes of division and physical harm. I think to effectively bring a blasphemy case against someone or a group you would need to prove that there was at least the intention to inflict physical assault or illicit it from others. I'm perfectly happy for it to exist if I'm honest but I would like to see a widening of its parameters. They technically speaking could have a referendum and repeal it, but it would be immediately replaced through the parliamentary houses with an identical bill in all but name.

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Twilight

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The real blasphemy is what people inflict on human beings, who are made in God's image.

What Fry said was very good and to the point.

If you agree with Fry that God is capricious, mean-minded, and stupid then it should only seem right that you inflict bad things on those who are made in his image, shouldn't it?
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The real blasphemy is what people inflict on human beings, who are made in God's image.

What Fry said was very good and to the point.

If you agree with Fry that God is capricious, mean-minded, and stupid then it should only seem right that you inflict bad things on those who are made in his image, shouldn't it?
Fry, IMO, is questioning the way God is presented by the typical Christian v. what exists in the real world. He is questioning, also, the acceptance of such. Absolutely nothing that isn't done on these very boards by Christians.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Enoch
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Tangent alert

The thing I go on being unable to understand is how a person can't see the flaw in saying they are so very, very angry with a God they claim doesn't exist.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Tangent alert

The thing I go on being unable to understand is how a person can't see the flaw in saying they are so very, very angry with a God they claim doesn't exist.

Well, people are not always rational.
But there is a rational rationale. One can be angry with Christians who support that view of God.
"God's Plan" can, and has been, used as an excuse to not help those in need, to vote in a manner that is not beneficial to them, etc.
And the pure inconsistency will irritate some people.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Tangent alert

The thing I go on being unable to understand is how a person can't see the flaw in saying they are so very, very angry with a God they claim doesn't exist.

Er, the good doctor (of philology I believe) was implicitly using the subjunctive.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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I was also thinking this irony would not have escaped such an intelligent individual. He is no stranger to courting controversy on religion, and Christianity continues to be the soft target.
Not sure it's all that big a deal really. More likely to bind a beleaguered and fractured institution than do it any more damage than has already been inflicted on it by itself.

Looks like a mini twitter storm that will rapidly been blown out by the next one.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
I've been trying to work this out and I think there are two possibilities. The Blasphemy law is an old hangover of the constitution which was altered by a High Court ruling in 2009 which meant there was less need for a referendum to repeal it. As it stands, I suspect it is covering what would otherwise be called a 'hate crime' but possibly specific to the religious sphere. *snip*

I was under the impression that it was a mediaeval offence? Certainly it was there in Irish law at the time of Dean Swift (1667-1745). I was not aware that it made its way into de Valera's 1937 constitution but it is a very old offence indeed. As others have noted, Canada continues to have it as an offence and AFAIK it's always been in the criminal code, from at least 1892.
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Twilight

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The real blasphemy is what people inflict on human beings, who are made in God's image.

What Fry said was very good and to the point.

If you agree with Fry that God is capricious, mean-minded, and stupid then it should only seem right that you inflict bad things on those who are made in his image, shouldn't it?
Fry, IMO, is questioning the way God is presented by the typical Christian v. what exists in the real world. He is questioning, also, the acceptance of such. Absolutely nothing that isn't done on these very boards by Christians.
Christians analyzing their own religion is very different than someone outside it pointing their finger and calling us all stupid for worshiping an evil god.

I think what bothers me about the interview is that Fry makes his statements with a little grin on his face that seems to be saying "Aren't I the clever, naughty boy to be saying these things."


Comedians like George Carlin were making jokes like this fifty years ago and Bill Maher does it today, I just don't think Fry is as daring as he thinks he is. I also rolled my eyes at his excuse that he wasn't being a bigot because he didn't name any specific religion. Only everyone of any religion who believes in God, I guess. It's like saying a certain race is stupid, but it's okay to say that so long as he doesn't name specific names.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Besides, the "people choose to do evil" answer doesn't address the example Fry chose. A young child with bone cancer, how was that caused by people choosing evil? It's a dilemma that's millenia old, an man born blind - was that the result of his sin, or his parents? Both "God created, and what He created contains evils like childhood cancers" and "people have free will and choose not to follow God" are simplistic answers that don't address the real issues, and are equally wrong (in different ways). There is, and I suppose never will be, a simple answer.

This.

One sticks with the Christian faith not because there is an answer to the question of suffering, but - pace Alvin Plantinga and the freewill defence - despite the fact that there is not.

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Anglican_Brat
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I wonder if a downside of pious theism, is that Christians and other religious people don't actually admit honestly what they really feel.

If something bad happens, some religious people are tempted to say things such as "Part of the plan, everything works to the good, blah blah".

What if life simply sucks? And what would happen if people simply say that.

The interesting thing to me is that if atheism is correct, and there is no God, no order, no natural justice, then realistically you can't exactly claim in honesty, that life sucks in the sense of being unjust. If there is no expectation of objective morality or ultimate justice, then you can't claim injustice.

Theodicy, only makes sense as a topic if you presume God. If there is no God, it seems nonsensical to expect the universe to be just or good in any such way.

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

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Paul.
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Tangent alert

The thing I go on being unable to understand is how a person can't see the flaw in saying they are so very, very angry with a God they claim doesn't exist.

He was asked to say what he would say to God if he met him 'at the pearly gates'. So the 'flaw' only exists because he entered into the spirit of the hypothetical question. Seems odd to criticize him for that.
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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
I wonder if a downside of pious theism, is that Christians and other religious people don't actually admit honestly what they really feel.

If something bad happens, some religious people are tempted to say things such as "Part of the plan, everything works to the good, blah blah".

What if life simply sucks? And what would happen if people simply say that.


Christians DO say that in my experience. When they're not using stronger language. I've rarely encountered the kind of keeping-up-appearances you mention, though I read about it fairly often. But I just haven't seen it in real life.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The real blasphemy is what people inflict on human beings, who are made in God's image.

What Fry said was very good and to the point.

If you agree with Fry that God is capricious, mean-minded, and stupid then it should only seem right that you inflict bad things on those who are made in his image, shouldn't it?
Fry, IMO, is questioning the way God is presented by the typical Christian v. what exists in the real world. He is questioning, also, the acceptance of such. Absolutely nothing that isn't done on these very boards by Christians.
Christians analyzing their own religion is very different than someone outside it pointing their finger and calling us all stupid for worshiping an evil god.

I think what bothers me about the interview is that Fry makes his statements with a little grin on his face that seems to be saying "Aren't I the clever, naughty boy to be saying these things."


Comedians like George Carlin were making jokes like this fifty years ago and Bill Maher does it today, I just don't think Fry is as daring as he thinks he is. I also rolled my eyes at his excuse that he wasn't being a bigot because he didn't name any specific religion. Only everyone of any religion who believes in God, I guess. It's like saying a certain race is stupid, but it's okay to say that so long as he doesn't name specific names.

Are you sure that the basic problem here isn't that Fry is just not up your street as far as comedians go? Clearly you find him smarmy and sneery. I find him extremely funny when he's trying to be funny. I also like that he does have, and share, opinions about things that are important to him. But I think comedians do tend to divide people. There are certainly some out there who seem to have huge followings, that I don't find funny at all.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Stetson
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quote:
I wonder if a downside of pious theism, is that Christians and other religious people don't actually admit honestly what they really feel.

If something bad happens, some religious people are tempted to say things such as "Part of the plan, everything works to the good, blah blah".

What if life simply sucks? And what would happen if people simply say that.


I'd guess some people here have seen Shadowlands, about arch-theodicist C.S. Lewis dealing with the early death of his wife.

At one point, someone says something to him about how his standard theodicy could explain the horror of his wife's sickness and death, and he snaps back "Yes, well I guess we're all just rats in God's laboratory, aren't we?"

Okay, he didn't come right out and say "God, that sadistic bastard", but it's pretty clear something like that was going on in his head when he made the comments.

Eventually, Lewish reconciles his ideas with the death of his wife, but for the time when he's having deep dounts about them, it seems to me his position isn't that far removed from that of a typical atheist.

I've been told the film is more or less accurate in portraying Lewis' thoughts and feelings at that point in his life.

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bib
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Having seen Stephen Fry in action, I conclude that he was being deliberately provocative and was seeking reactions.

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"My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring"

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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The real blasphemy is what people inflict on human beings, who are made in God's image.

What Fry said was very good and to the point.

If you agree with Fry that God is capricious, mean-minded, and stupid then it should only seem right that you inflict bad things on those who are made in his image, shouldn't it?
Actually, no. If you are capable of forming the opinion that Fry did, you are arguing from a position that holds that this world should be a heck of a lot better than it is, and therefore that its creator should be a heck of a lot better than he appears to be, and therefore, it behoves you to behave a heck of a lot better to his mistreated creatures than he does. Or you have no right to argue that he is capricious etc.

Meanwhile, on R4 this morning, the existence of a Trickster in polytheistic religions was discussed, unfortunately while I was fitfully catching up on sleep. The point they made was that monotheistic religions have to cope with the messiness of this world without being able to blame Trickster for it. It did occur to me that that the ability of "primitive" religions to look at Jesus and identify Him with Hare, Raven and so on suggested that there is a lot more to Trickster than simply making things wrong. I've often though in reading the folk tales that he has a lot to do with enabling a better life for people than the major gods have designed.

I read a graphic novel version of Greek myths by Marcia Williams, whose first work I read was on the Flood, in which she suggests that it was very wrong of Prometheus to oppose Zeus just because he was the king, where at least one ancient writer suggested that Zeus was wrong and needed to be opposed. And as for Odin...

But in the Abrahamic religions, all we have is Satan, and our own sinfulness inherited from a very, very minor infringement of obedience not fully explained (but given a different view by Jewish teaching which sees the expulsion from Eden as growing up, and important). And all the nasties inflicted on the world since then had to have been built in to the plans beforehand, so God is not let off the hook at all.

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Twilight

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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:

Are you sure that the basic problem here isn't that Fry is just not up your street as far as comedians go? Clearly you find him smarmy and sneery. I find him extremely funny when he's trying to be funny. I also like that he does have, and share, opinions about things that are important to him. But I think comedians do tend to divide people. There are certainly some out there who seem to have huge followings, that I don't find funny at all.

I understand what you're saying and agree in general, but I've actually been a fan of Stephen Fry for a long time. His show with Hugh Laurie, "A Bit of Fry and Laurie," always had me rolling. I just didn't like this particular interview because I find it personally offensive.

To answer the thread title, yes, I do think blasphemy is a thing, not that it should be illegal but that it exists. Obviously many others don't mind what Fry said, and atheists in particular, probably think it does an hilarious job of pointing out just how ridiculous all the religious people are. To be honest, it makes me cringe.

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Having seen Stephen Fry in action, I conclude that he was being deliberately provocative and was seeking reactions.

He was asked to give his opinion on a specific hypothetical question, which he gave. Indeed for him it was doubly hypothetical since he doesn't believe God exists anyway. His atheism is well known, so if anyone was being "provocative" and "seeking reactions" it was the presenter who put the question to him.
What a complete and utterly pointless distraction - no better than the Archbishop of York getting annoyed about whether a company founded by a Quaker includes the word "Easter" when advertising its chocolate eggs. [Mad]

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The more I get to know the less I find that I understand.

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:


What if life simply sucks? And what would happen if people simply say that.


Then, to paraphrase the tale of Ben Ezra, in return for enduring this life, we should ask God to send the Messiah and redeem the whole world.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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fletcher christian

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Actually, it is also possible that this case has been taken by the Iona Institute and would certainly be in keeping with the kind of stunts they pull. For the uninitiated, the Iona Institute is a group of insidious and also petty individuals who have a beef with RTE for not being close enough to fundamentalist catholicism for their tastes.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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quetzalcoatl
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Penny S wrote:

quote:

Meanwhile, on R4 this morning, the existence of a Trickster in polytheistic religions was discussed, unfortunately while I was fitfully catching up on sleep. The point they made was that monotheistic religions have to cope with the messiness of this world without being able to blame Trickster for it. It did occur to me that that the ability of "primitive" religions to look at Jesus and identify Him with Hare, Raven and so on suggested that there is a lot more to Trickster than simply making things wrong. I've often though in reading the folk tales that he has a lot to do with enabling a better life for people than the major gods have designed.

I remember this from studying Jung, who was very interested in various Trickster figures. It's both a representation of the way life kicks against us, and also in some religions (esp. American), an aspect of the sacred itself.

He is a classic 'idiot' figure, who actually can act as a catalyst for others, and as something transformative.

Yes, you can connect it with Jesus, who has a subversive side, and also, has a shambolic career, with many people thinking he's mad or incomprehensible or just a failure. I suppose failing leads to transcendence (sometimes)! Try again. Fail again, fail better, and so on (Beckett).

Jung also talks about getting the opposite of what you want from the Trickster, and he relates this to God. I suppose you can connect this with Satan in Job, who is a kind of consigliere figure.

[ 08. May 2017, 12:48: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
I wonder if a downside of pious theism, is that Christians and other religious people don't actually admit honestly what they really feel.

If something bad happens, some religious people are tempted to say things such as "Part of the plan, everything works to the good, blah blah".

What if life simply sucks? And what would happen if people simply say that.


Christians DO say that in my experience. When they're not using stronger language. I've rarely encountered the kind of keeping-up-appearances you mention, though I read about it fairly often. But I just haven't seen it in real life.
They DON'T here. It's impossible to have this conversation.

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Love wins

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