Answering 16 of the Worst #JeSuisCharlie #CharlieHebdo Memes

7.21.08 Blitt Obama.indd

In response to the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices last week, I have read a number of arguments, claims, and memes that I strongly disagree with.

Instead of writing multiple posts covering them all and having my views on one issue distorted by people who would imagine for me the worst of all possible views on all other interrelated issues, I have decided to post sixteen (mostly short) replies covering many nuances of controversy swirling around. Feel free to jump to the topics of greatest controversy to you, but please if you seek to criticize my views on any one controversy take note of other sections where I might address other objections you have further.

1. “Why are people insisting we show the images? We can stand up for free speech without approving of or republishing images we disagree with.”

2. “Charlie Hebdo’s murdered staff aren’t heroes and martyrs. They were just insulting marginalized people and disrespecting religion.”

3. “Freedom of speech shouldn’t give you the right to insult people’s religions.”

4. “Even if we should honor the legal right to blaspheme, it’s still morally inappropriate for being so disrespectful.”

5. “I refuse to say ‘Je Suis Charlie’ because don’t do the offensive things they do.”

6. “How can you be racists to Muslims if they’re not a race?”

7. “The real heroes are the Muslim cops who died defending Charlie Hebdo even though Charlie Hebdo mocked their religion. Charlie Hebdo by contrast weren’t heroes.”

8. “Almost no Muslims support assaults on conscience so it’s unfair to blame Islam itself for theocracy or terrorism.”

9. “But why is it that if a Muslim commits murder an entire religion is blamed, if a black person does an entire race is blamed, but as soon as it’s a white male he’s just a random ‘psycho’? Blaming Islam for the actions of these terrorists is clearly just racism.”

10. “No True Muslim Would Be A Terrorist.” Or, its evil cousin, “Muslim terrorists are the true Muslims.”

11. “Aren’t the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo generally racist, sexist, and homophobic even when not portraying Muslims?”

12. “Are the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo examples of ‘hipster racism‘”?

13. “All good satire punches up, rather than kicks people who are down. Mocking the marginalized is not funny, it’s kicking people who are already down. It’s one thing for French satirists to go after the Pope (he represents the putative majority religion in France, so that’s punching up) but it’s qualitatively different to go after the founder of a minority religion (that’s punching down).”

14. “But Muslims have no choice but to be offended since their religion requires that there be no depictions of Muhammad.”

15. “Is it racist of the media to pay so much more attention to the massacre at Charlie Hebdo than the Nigerian massacre by Boko Haram and the attempted bombing of an NAACP building?”

16. “If the West truly cared about free expression it would be equally up in arms about all its own human rights abuses.”

[Read more...]

Why I won’t join in Christmas prayers or other religious practices

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This is a guest post by Dylan Walker, cross-posted from his Skeptimus Prime blog with his permission. Christmas, more than any other time of the year, is full various religious rituals, so the question of how deal with them comes up often. Theists, and even other atheists, often have trouble understanding why I (and many other atheists) won’t [Read More...]

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This is a crosspost from guest contributor Peter Mosley. TRIGGER WARNING: IN THE CONTEXT OF A RESPONSE TO COMMON CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, THIS POST DISCUSSES THE BIBLE’S STANCE ON THE SENSITIVE TOPICS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND RAPE.  For some reason, in almost every discussion I’ve had about morality with a Christian, I’m asked, “So, what [Read More...]

Raising (Actual) Humanists

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There has been a lot of thoughtful discussion on Patheos’s atheist portal the last few days about how atheist parents should present the subject of religion to their kids. You can read Wendy Thomas Russell’s posts here and here, Kaveh Mousavi’s here and here, and Libby Anne’s here. As a professional philosophy educator with a [Read More...]

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Why Sin is a False and Morally and Biologically Backward Concept

In this post I dissect in detail what is false and morally and biologically backward about Christian notions of sin and its connection to suffering. A couple key, summary quotes:

“There is nothing resembling a one-to-one correlation between human imperfections (what Marc misleadingly calls “sin”) and human sufferings, let alone the kind of absolute causal link Marc’s fantastical “sin” concept requires.”

“Our curiosity, our knowledge, our sharing of knowledge, our aspiration “to become like the gods”—active creators and choosers of our own natures and our own fates–is what we owe nearly all our rational, moral, and civilizational progress. That these things are demonized–falsely attributed to our imperfections and unfairly blamed on them–is the completely warped and backward thinking at the heart of Christianity. And even up through today monotheistic misanthropy and misology, i.e., Christian hatred of human nature and reason, are among both the most obstinant obstacles to moral and social progress, and among the most diligent institutionalized tempters to moral and social regress, with which we as a species have to contend.”

Read the whole article by clicking the title. [Read more...]


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