Blasphemy Against the Sith?

Blasphemy Against the Sith? September 30, 2012

Leah Libresco has a post about the nature of blasphemy, in which she shared this image, which I also found shared today on the Atheist Revolution blog :

In her post, Libresco asks whether it is possible to commit blasphemy if you are not first convinced of the holiness of that which you then in insult. So, for instance, if you do not embrace the Dark Side of the Force, could you find the above photo blasphemous for its depiction of Darth Vader marching in the company of Christian clergy, apparently merely bringing up the rear in a very minor role?

As someone who shares images related to religion and science fiction all the time, it doesn’t seem to me that Sith, Jedi, or Christians would find the above image “blasphemous.”

The reason this is being discussed is because today is “Blasphemy Day.” I don’t think that a day dedicated to blasphemy makes that much sense, from a certain point of view. Can one be obliged to blaspheme, and can blasphemy be done half-heartedly – the way some other people go to church because it is a particular day? There is a certain irony about the concept. But having such a day makes the important point that there should not be laws that deny the right of people to view other religious viewpoints, or religion in general, as worthy of derision, and to express that viewpoint in words, in art, or in other ways.   And to the extent that that is the aim of this day, I am support of it.

Protecting freedom of speech is important, and the rationale behind my viewpoint has deep roots in the Bible – for instance, in the story of Gideon, with its argument that, if Ba’al doesn’t care enough to punish the one who damaged his cultic object, then why should any human being inflict punishment for that reason? That stance is also found in the Wisdom literature and in the New Testament, in the emphasis on not repaying evil for evil, but leaving judgment up to God.


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  • Having contributed to the Brill Handbook of Hyper-Real Religions this photo reminds me of the very real spirituality of Jediism, and the increasing movement of the boundaries of religion beyond those traditional, institutionalized forms. It surely does not make me think of blasphemy.