As english author Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote, "the pen is mightier than the sword." Our words and ideas carry great power, for good or ill.
For many, freedom of expression is the foundation on which all other human rights are built, but free speech unchecked can often lead to conflict especially when it addresses our core beliefs. When does the right to communicate one's opinions and ideas interfere with the rights of others? When does free speech become hate speech? What is the value of satire and social critique? When is censorship necessary? Just how far is too far?
Here Patheos writers evaluate the razor-thin line between protected speech, and speech that causes harm —attempting to define the limits of free expression.
Reflections on Reformation: Then and Now
The Christian Church was always meant to be undergoing Spirit-led, Scripturally based reformation, harkening to the voice of God as we move forward in history.
Today, nearly 500 years after the Protestant reformation, orthodox Protestants and Catholics are closer to each other than they perhaps have ever been.
There are too many texts in play to account for here, so you’re on your own for some of them. But I’ve chosen the most interesting–and pertinent–ones to look at here.
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More than ever, Muslims face great challenges and animosity from some people and politicians.
Roger E. Olson
Something is desperately wrong in American police culture, especially if we as a society cannot cry out for justice for black teenagers.
We must reject hatred and strengthen interfaith understanding.
I think the response to the protest in Phoenix was measured and correct. Allah blessed us with safety and no one was injured.
If we're in the midst of a civilizational war, it's not a war between Islam and the West, but between those who get the joke and those who don't.
Together, the people who resisted Ritzheimer's followers proved it's possible to express love and righteousness loudly, or even brashly.
Jon Ritzheimer, host of the "Draw Muhammad" event in Ariz., is crowd funding $10 million for personal security.
The crowd has grown to about forty. Some have arrived on Harleys, others in pickups or cars. Most are wearing pistols on their hips.
Even though a lot of Muslims would like others to respect their beliefs, not everyone is going to do that.
Wendy Thomas Russell, invited a group of people to participate in a group blogging project.
A virtual roundtable discussion on the issue of drawing Muhammad.
Understanding Free Speech and Religious Conflict
Wendy Thomas Russell
Part of a series called "Mommy, What's That?" — aimed at giving secular parents some straightforward, and open-minded ways to discuss religious concepts.
Ours is a society in which self-restraint is a mandate. The law says we cannot repay words with violence.
Is there a difference between the cartoons at Geller's event in Texas and those in Charlie Hebdo?
If you're a person of faith, then you know that God will see what is good and hold accountable what is not.
Freethinkers must couch their criticism responsibly and thoughtfully, keeping in mind our moral duty.
If Christians are going to take Jesus' command to follow him seriously, then we need to stop this defense of drawing pictures of Muhammad.
While I've sometimes held back on social media out of fear of saying the wrong thing, I've never had to worry about my physical safety.
Because the world is filled with bullies and cowards, and because the two are often the same, it is more important than ever that people keep talking.
We freethinkers pride ourselves in defending the right to mock the religious, but what about speech we find hateful?
Paul Louis Metzger
Throughout the history of the world, empires have used language as a tool to subject the peoples they conquer.