Freewill, Free Speech, and Blasphemy

If we were robotic machines simply executing a program, we would have no real choice when we take moral decisions. But we do take moral choices. We do decide between right and wrong. In doing so, we exercise freewill, and I believe the existence of our freewill is one of the proofs that God loves us. You see, the decision to love is a choice, and God has given us the right to choose not to love Him. He loves us enough to refrain from forcing our choice.

If God loves you that much, it would be the height of arrogance for me to attempt to force you to express love for Him according to my understanding. Of course, it’s reasonable for me to try to convince you that my understanding is correct, but that’s persuasion—not force. Indeed, so long as you aren’t hurting anyone except yourself, you should be free to choose to hate God.

This is why I support freedom of expression even to the extent of allowing blasphemy. Certainly, blasphemy offends me, but if God is Who He says He is, He is capable of dealing with it on His own terms. He doesn’t need me to avenge Him. In the end, God will not be mocked. After all, the message of the book of Revelation is: God wins/Pick a side/Don’t be stupid.

Charlie Hebdo has published cartoons that offend Christians as well as Muslims. They should be free to do so. I view their choice as unwise, and I choose not to reproduce some of those cartoons here at Hogewash!, yet I still support their right to publish them.

14 thoughts on “Freewill, Free Speech, and Blasphemy

  1. Choosing to not publish those cartoons because you find them unfunny or offensive is perfectly valid, and your choice. Choosing not to publish them because someone else claims they are offensive to them, or because you fear the Islamists will react means they have won. You are not a primary reporter of Mid-East or religion issues – it is not your job/role/responsibility to cover such things if you don’t want to.

    It is the craven cowards of CNN and their ilk that are running stories specifically about the cartoons and the attacks, and don’t include the cartoons (or blur them out), that really frost my ass.

    • I agree with the above comment only in part. I would find nothing wrong with a newspaper or TV station consistently refusing to display images that are religiously offensive. They might have commercial reasons to do so (perfectly legitimate if they are not state supported). Or they might choose merely as a matter of taste and good manners not to be unnecessarily offensive to others. Whether the cartoons in Charlie were clever, offensive, both, or neither is entirely irrelevant: among us, there are barbarians murdering people over cartoons.

      What frosts my ass is the pretence. One is not speaking truth to power if one speaks such truths only when confident that the power will not be used to retaliate. One has neither taste nor manners if they evaporate in the sunshine of safety.

      • Jeff, I would see nothing wrong with a news organization refusing to show offensive content, IF they were consistent with the policy. But many of the lamestream media have no problem with showing something that is offensive to Christian or Jews. As you said, if there is little to no chance of response, it really isn’t speaking truth to power. When was the last time a group of Methodists car bombed someone?

        The problem then becomes what isn’t offensive to someone? With the wide spectrum of a viewing audience, almost any religious topic will be offensive to someone.

      • agile

        You and I are close, perhaps at the same spot. You will notice that I used the word “consistently” and you used “consistent.” I doubt the difference between adjectival and adverbial use is meaningful. The media and Hollywood retreat to “avoiding offense” only when convenient.

        I agree with you as well that once an issue becomes what is “offensive” there is a high degree of subjectivity involved. If you and I differ at all, it is in this small detail: a so-called news organization that avoids the substance of the news is not just useless, but actively harmful. Was it terrorists who murdered or Islamic terrorists who murdered? I do not view the cartoons that offended as substantive; I do view as substantive who were the murderers and what motivated them.

        Locke said that those who do not tolerate cannot be tolerated. There is a religious war going on, and our purported betters deny it because they themselves are anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. (By the way, I am an agnostic, but I am willing to take my chances with Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists.)

  2. Ok, kidz, here’s why you always limber up the LULZ muscles before cruisin’ the Innartubez:

    “Being a relatively normal person, it’s hard for me to fathom that there could be a group of people so dedicated to hating me that there are two whole blogs devoted to that hatred.”

    Wow. False premise, a snort-inducing one at that, followed by a confession of stupidity, followed by a strawman assertion, and an erroneous conclusion.

    Damn, one could absolutely *cramp* several LULZ muscles if you didn’t warmup first. Classic GIGO!

    I LOL’d for some time, and am still chuckling over that one…

    (Hi, Cousin Bill, you poor stupid bastard!)

  3. I honestly don’t know where my position really is on this. I don’t think people should insult and offend other people on purpose, regardless of the topic of the insult or offense. And sometimes, we will even withhold truths not to offend – white lies, yes, dear, dinner was great.

    Blasphemy is a sin. Not taking the Lord’s name in vain is one of the Ten Commandments. In many places in the Bible, blasphemy is abjured. Christ Himself speaks of it as a great sin.

    The Pope has taken a bit of flak recently by saying that those who blaspheme should not be surprised if they “get punched.” Some interpreted that as blaming the victim. But I think (humbly, I really can’t speak for the Pope and I am not even Catholic) that he meant something like “Blasphemy is a sin, and sometimes sins are punished in the here and now, not just judged in the afterlife.”

    No, God will not be mocked, and at times, He punishes those who mock His own. In 2 Kings 2:23-24, we read (from the NIV translation):

    23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!”

    24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.

    So, if we are to be more Christlike (which is the goal for Christians), we should not blaspheme, and we should not encourage blasphemy.


    Those who claim that they want to avoid offense of religious sensibilities ONLY when under the pain of death are hypocrites and cowards. I mean, I suspect that if bears came into the CNN editorial board meeting and mauled 42 editors because they mocked a Christian, that they would probably modify their views. But that is not the world we live in.

    If these media outlets were to actually choose to be respectful of religion, and choose not to offend, that would be acting decently, not cravenly. But that isn’t what they do.

  4. As our Host said, God care take care of himself, he doesn’t need us to do it for him.

    Am I offended by some of the anti-Christian “art” that has appeared and that American taxpayers have paid for? Hell yes! But again, I am not going to go out and behead the so called artist for them, or the media that gladly posts pictures/videos of them, that is on there soul, not mine (I get get pissed because tax dollars paid for it).

    When I hear anti-Christian. anti-God or blasphemy concerning Christ, or even the vile crap people spew about Jews, I just grit my teeth and refuse to read or listen to them. It is not “turn the other cheek” response, it is “they have the right to spew that crap” type of response.

    As a Christian, I don’t consider it blasphemy to create cartoons of Mo, in fact I am all for it. I am glad it ticks the bastards off, because they need to learn that their religion does not trump mine, or my right to the Freedom of Speech.

    Islam needs an internal Reformation, and until it happens, their panties will be perpetually in a wad.

  5. This is the same ever loving god who will cast you into eternal hellfire and damnation because you didnt get sprinkled with water (or immersed, not your choice) and didnt ‘acknowledge Jesus as the son of god? yeah, I’m all for that show of immaturity. If the god who made me can’t accept me, WTF?

    • To Herman Hollerith:
      Ah your ignorance runeth over!

      1st – You don’t have to get baptized to go to Heaven (sprinkled or immersed), that is just a voluntary act that you do if you want to.

      2nd – God have given you the Free Will to chose to believe or not believe, you make the choice. There is not coercion, but as you said there is consequences, but that is YOUR choice.

      3rd – “If the god who made me can’t accept me, WTF?” He has accepted you, and he also sent his Son Jesus to die for all of YOUR sins, all he asked is that you accept and acknowledge that, again it is YOUR choice.

      Chose wisely.

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