Sunday, 22 February 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don’t respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water, and rose from the dead. I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.

I don’t respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don’t respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of “prejudice” or “ignorance”, but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.

When you demand “respect”, you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade."
Johann Hari, Why should I respect these oppressive religions? - The Independent, 28 Jan 09.

These words seem to caused rather a storm, especially in India, leading to the arrest of an Indian newspaper editor and it's publisher who reprinted the article. Read Hari's response in The Independent, 13 Feb 09. I think we can tell which side is the upholder of free speech.
Thanks to MediaWatchWatch for the heads up.

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