As I understand it, someone made a video which, among other things, depicts the Islamic prophet Muhammad as “a confused pedophile who is also bloodthirsty and has a questionable lineage.” I read that somewhere. I haven’t actually seen the video, because I don’t actively seek videos about the Islamic prophet Muhammad, even if they are, as Hillary Rodham Clinton described it, “disgusting and reprehensible.” Apparently she has seen it. I didn’t think the Secretary of State was into that sort of thing, but there you go.
By “disgusting” I take it Hillary meant ugly and vulgar. By “reprehensible” I take it she meant worthy of reprimand and blame for the consequences that have rocked and shocked Libya, Egypt, and many parts of the Middle East this week. There are some people who do not take kindly to anyone even drawing a picture of their Islamic prophet Muhammad, much less presenting him in a less than angelic light. They probably would even take offense to angelic lighting, cuz they think he deserves better than even that. Reprehensible could be interpreted as a synonym of censure, which many confuse with censor. This offensive film, no matter how offensive it is, does not deserve censorship. Nothing does. Even the stuff that does get censored. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said when presumably quoting Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The response to the video was violent. I would also go so far as to describe it as “disgusting and reprehensible.” Seems to be a lot of that going around these days. I’m not personally a fan of violence, and I’m not personally a fan of belief. As I explained in a previous blog post, it takes belief to pull a trigger. Doubt is what stops you.
I could attempt to review the events of the past few weeks, and question how such presumably improvised attacks happen to have included some well armed men who stormed an embassy and killed three people including a high level diplomat. I’m not well versed in the details enough to make any accusations. All I see is bits and pieces of the truth, cobbled together with hysteria and paranoia. That’s from sources I halfway trust. I haven’t even bothered with Fox News and the like on this one. I bet they’re having a field day.
This is the response from a society that does not prize free speech; a culture that feels there are sacred cows which cannot be questioned. Should we expect less? Why are so many people acting surprised? A few years ago some people started up “Draw Muhammad Day” which I am proud to say in my own humble way I participated. The video is somewhere on YouTube, I might bother to link to it here or you can just go to youtube.com/zachsmind yourself and run a search. Shouldn’t be hard. Reportedly, the person who started Draw Muhammad Day had to go into hiding for fear of death threats. No one’s tried to kill me over it, but that’s only cuz I’m a small fish. Still, there are places on this planet where I can’t go, because my refusal to blindly accept a belief system that has brought so much pain, fear, misery, grief, violence, bloodshed, and hate upon mankind makes them see me as reprehensible and disgusting. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people would kill me on sight just as soon as look at me, cuz I drew a smiley face and called it Muhammad.
Oops. There. I did it again. Shame on me. How disgusting and reprehensible am I? How dare I challenge your beliefs?
More to the point, how dare you not challenge your own beliefs? How dare you believe something without challenging its authenticity, and then passing your boldfaced lies of faith as if they were truth? Faith is not true. I can believe in gravity or I can believe in leprechauns, and faith is satisfied either way. Faith does not require anything other than a steadfast loyalty. You don’t have to prove anything to faith. Like a bottle of your favorite beer, it’s there waiting for you. Anyone who has ever been to AA knows exactly what I’m talking about. Mankind is addicted to faith. We have to believe in something, even though we so do not have to believe in anything. So many human beings can’t not believe. As if they think it’s ingrained in our DNA.
“Well don’t you believe in something?”
“Everybody has to believe in something. You can’t not believe.”
Have you ever tried it?
I accept things. Things that have evidence. If I can’t find evidence but it seems to work, I accept it tentatively and understand that at any time I can uncover evidence that indicates my assumptions are false. There’s no reason to believe something implicitly to the point where even in the face of opposing evidence you blindly insist it’s still truth.
I don’t even believe in science. I just read recently that the problem with Einstein’s theories is that they can’t be married properly to quantum physics. I’ve heard that before but didn’t really understand what they mean. It’s like at the quantum level, Einstein’s theories break down. This is just like when Einstein realized that Newton’s theories broke down when you step outside the Earth. Apparently things are relative in more ways than one. In fact they’re relative in potentially infinite ways. So what we currently know is wrong, but it is also right from our current point of view. And no, I don’t believe in relativity either. I accept things, but I reserve the right to stop accepting them at the slightest provocation. I am willing to adapt and change depending on what works and what doesn’t. Evolution calls that survival. Belief systems call that sacrilege.
The people being violent in Yemen and Egypt and Libya are running on beliefs that have been passed down for generations. The cycle can stop any time, but people have to want to change. Fear keeps them trapped in a belief system that is causing pain and misery for so many. And Muslims are not the only ones at fault. The Christians are just as much at fault, not because of a stupid film that some extremist nutjob wanker put out there, but because like the Muslims, Christians are also clinging to a belief system that has no basis or legitimacy in reality.
Both Christianity and Islam are founded on Judaism, via Abraham. It’s why I call them Abrahamic beliefs. They are inter-related. They worship the same One True God presumably, but they seem him in such remarkably different ways, their perspectives make their One True God appear to be different. This makes no sense. It’s implausible. However, as I said before, faith does not need evidence. It doesn’t need anything. It simply needs you to believe. It doesn’t have to make sense.
Believing in something that doesn’t make any sense, doesn’t make any sense; especially when it’s killing people.