Among the foundational values of the European Union is tolerance, i.e. the attitude of granting respect to opinions or world-views one does not happen to share. This is necessary for peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society.
While in every religious community there may be some who lack tolerance, a set of well-founded convictions is actually the best pre-condition for developing an attitude of tolerance towards others. There are tolerant Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and there are unfortunately also some who are not so tolerant. By contrast, atheism (which today often comes under the name of “Secularism”) is probably the only world-view that inevitably and by necessity must be intolerant, given that it advances no positive belief of its own, but defines itself solely ex negativo as the rejection of the beliefs held by others.
Have you ever met a tolerant atheist?
A perfect illustration of this is the fact that in the European Parliament there is a so-called “Secularist Platform“, made up of militantly atheist politicians, who tomorrow will hold a conference to discuss and promote a “Right to Blasphemy“.
What is blasphemy? It is not merely the expression of having no religious belief, or of not sharing a particular religious belief held by others. Instead, blasphemy is the act of insulting what is sacred to others. Indirectly, its very purpose is to insult and humiliate those others whose religious belief one does not share. Very tolerant, isn’t it?
Logically, where atheists have a “Right to Blasphemy”, religious believers must have a corresponding duty to defencelessly accept insult and humiliation – otherwise that “right” wouldn’t be one. Blasphemy is not simply a statement of non-belief, but an act of aggression.
Quite obviously a pluralistic and multi-cultural society can only exist where people, rather than insulting each other, treat each other with respect and forbearance. A “Right to Blasphemy” would be institutionalised intolerance protected by law.
We are wondering whether Sophie in ‘t Veld and Virginie Rozière, the two religion-hating MEPs organizing the event, would – besides promoting blasphemy – also promote a “Right to Racism” or a “Right to Sexism”. Or, to put it differently: if they find that some of their fellow citizens should have the duty to accept all insults and humiliations that blaspheming religion-haters choose to inflict on them, how much would they themselves be prepared to accept from others?
The event will be webstreamed on the website of the European Parliament’s ALDE group, which provides some insight into the nature of that group’s “liberalism”…