Salman Rushdie on Religious Extremists (and the terms they use to silence opponents)

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, recently gave an interview to BBC News. In it he made a profound point about the use of charges of “blasphemy”, “heresy”, “insult”, and “offense” as an excuse to attack those who think differently, especially about issues of religion.

“If you look at the way in which free expression is being attacked by religious extremism, it’s happening in all these countries, and the things of which these people are being accused is always the same: it’s always blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, insult, offense – this kind of medieval vocabulary being used at the turn of the second millennium [is happening now].”
– Salman Rushdie

I also enjoyed Rushdie’s response to the interviewer when he was asked, “What’s the solution”?

Rushdie responded, “Be braver”.

Those of us who enjoy freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and engage in the academic discipline of critical inquiry cannot and should not be intimidated into silencing our examination, research, and yes, our critique of religion simply because many vocal (and a few violent) religious fundamentalists don’t like it, regardless of the religion under examination and regardless of the nationality of the protestor.

Whether it takes place in the streets of Cairo, the airwaves of talk radio, or on the stage of the Republican National Convention, scholars should never back down from critiquing the virtues and vices of any ideology, be it politics, economics, or religion.

jesus christ: mixed martial arts superstar??

MMA Jesusyou have absolutely got to be kidding me.

the daily show has done a great segment on how some ministries are using smackdown style evangelism to spread the word.

a couple of deranged pastors in the south are using mixed martial arts and feats of strength to evangelize people. john renken of clarksville, tennessee runs ‘xtreme ministries,’ which teaches mixed martial arts as a form of evangelism. likewise, todd keene of dallas, texas runs the ‘power team,’ which does feats of strength to impress people for jesus.

i shake my head.

in fact, is it possible to laugh at (and not with) people while shaking my head?? seriously. how stupid can some people be? wait, don’t answer that.

the only religion that should use feats of strength is festivus. that’s it. the rest is adulterating and packaging xnty just to be cool. look, if you like to do something like boxing of football, great. and if you want to thank god for your ability to catch a ball in the end zone, wonderful. but don’t build a ministry around doing things that openly contradict the principle message of a particular faith. (that goes for you ‘gospel of wealth’ and tv evangelists as well!) you don’t kick people in the head for the glory of god! xnty is not a contact sport, it should be focused on service to those in need. it’s not a freakin’ side show!

again, the answer to dwindling numbers in the pews is not to fundamentally change the core of the faith or to employ big time wrestling tactics in worship. how about give them something worthwhile? or is that too hard for people these days?

what’s next, pimp my gospel?

[ht: jim west]

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