Should freedom of speech extend to insult of religion.

May 2, 2015, 1:11 am

Agree45 Disagree44


The debate "Should freedom of speech extend to insult of religion." was started by Shahmir on May 2, 2015, 1:11 am. 45 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 44 people are on the disagree side. That might be enough to see the common perception. It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.

I_Voyager posted 7 arguments, Shahmir posted 2 arguments, PsychDave posted 4 arguments, unfitzangetsu posted 1 argument to the agreers part.
PsychDave posted 2 arguments, Shahmir posted 1 argument, Getmurked posted 1 argument, evamara posted 1 argument to the disagreers part.

Shahmir, PsychDave, mdavis1309, I_Voyager, jonatron5, Seraphim, Hollister_boy, Asa, ufufugh, Mastermind, scooter6381, coolginger9660, Mrcolaman, shinywhale, libertarian_rebel, toughgamerjerry, DarkAngelAnarchist, sighnomore99, skyfrancois_97, kyopsis23, Sosocratese, Damn3d, unfitzangetsu, soullesschicken, WordSpeller, JakobBoghora and 19 visitors agree.
wmd, Chabii, Getmurked, hae_bae, Raydiff3r, lea14x, S2Sethi, karthik, bearunter, sulei, invincible_01, farhana, Zach_Hill, AnkGanu, Violet, sdiop, evamara and 27 visitors disagree.

freedom of speech and insulting people are 2 separate subjects. people should have the right and freedom to say wat they wish to say about religion etc. if religious people (some not all) face no repercussions for insulting other groups ie atheists and other religions then surely that freedom should be open to every one.

lets also not forget that something can only be insulting if someone finds it offensive and insulting therefore laws such as the ones referenced in this discussion can used out of context and therefore wrongfully.

freedom of speech should be open to everyone it may hurt or belittle some cultures and people but how can you stop what people think and therefore say.

4 years, 5 months ago

How do we draw the line between protecting thought and policing thought?

4 years, 6 months ago

no, our freedom ends when the freedom of another person begins, we have to respect the others, and if we speaks we have to take the responsability of what we said, and not just in religio, we have to respect politic, thoughts....

4 years, 6 months ago

The bylaw makes it illegal to ?provoke, insult, revile, blaspheme or harass a police officer or municipal worker in the exercise of his or her duties.? In spirit it prevents people from verbally or digitally harassing police and municipal workers for doing their job. In practice, someone could receive a $100 to $1000 fine for anything deemed insulting, even if it was to criticize a legitimate problem or behavior. For example, if someone takes to social media after police assault them, they would face fines for doing so.

I will start a new topic. I would be interested to see the community's view on the subject.

4 years, 6 months ago
replied to...

Do the laws prohibit verbal insults against specific officers? Or against the police in general? I don't know where I stand on the right to insult individual people (which can be perceived as a border-line assault). But I'm entirely opposed to this law in the context of insulting any organization or power-structure.

Maybe you should open a new statement along the lines of "It is ok/wrong to insult police/public employees." and we can engage in a new dialogue more broadly about freedom of speech.

4 years, 6 months ago
replied to...

It may be my grammar use made my compliment look less complimentary than I intended. What I meant was: "It is difficult for one to change one's mind". Which implies you do something which is rare and difficult. Not "It is difficult to change your mind". Which isn't a very good compliment :P

4 years, 6 months ago

While not in the context of religion, it may interest people to look into the bylaw in Granby, Quebec, Canada that issues fines for insulting police officers. It has existed for quite a while for verbal insults, but made news recently due to it being expanded to include comments online and in social media. Various groups and experts are warning that it may be unconstitutional as a violation of free speech, but it has not been challenged yet(at least that I could find). It is justified by defending police and public employees from defamatory attacks for what they do in their job.

If this is challenged and upheld, it would open the door to banning other insults bot verbal and digital.

4 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for the compliments even though they weren't that good.

Anyways, I would as well concede that insults most of the time do not play much in a meaningful discussion.

Honestly, I would agree with the arguments made by PsychDave and Getmurked if the context of this debate was on a personal level. That is the reason why I would disagree in this instance.

4 years, 6 months ago

Fair enough. I can definitively say that they will never work. I can only say that in my experience I have never seen them work. More often, like you said, it turns into a cycle which does nothing but reinforce in both parties minds how right they are.

I felt the need to concede because it occurred to me that, while I don't agree with insults towards anyone, I would be outraged if someone told me I couldn't express my opinion because they found it offensive, or if I read about someone being told that, because their belief offends someone, they cannot express it. I personally feel that political correctness has gone beyond what is necessary, and that belief is not compatible with believing that people should not be allowed to be insulting.

4 years, 6 months ago
replied to...

And I can concede that more often than not, insults are not profitable to meaningful discourse. I think it can further some discourse, in certain situations, between certain people, when the insult is meaningful and representative of the view of the person. But I've seen a lot of instances where atheists bully religious people into retreat without ever making a rational argument. I've seen that push people further into their own belief structures. And I've seen the flamewars start as Getmurked described.

Violence makes violence makes violence makes violence makes violence.

But I'd like to add: I have met one man who changed his mind from Christian to atheist because (so he told me at least) of an insulting argument that left him with no rational choice besides to accept the fact of disbelief. We had this discussion because I told him to be less insulting. I told him insults don't change peoples minds. He told me insults changed his mind. So it can work.

4 years, 6 months ago

The more I think about it, and the more I read the comments, the more I have to admit that I have to concede this debate. I disagree with using insults either for or against religion, and I do not feel that they are ever an effective means of conveying an argument since the offense lessens the impact of the arguments because the offended party becomes less rational as they get more angry. That said, I do believe that, as long as you are not harming anyone, no one should limit what you can say. Insults that cross the line into hate speech are, and should be, illegal since they make it so that others cannot feel safe, but to ban anything that insults someone is to ban most speech. I do not agree that insults can be effective points for starting discourse, but I concede that they should be protected by freedom of speech.

4 years, 6 months ago
replied to...

I think Shahmir makes a powerful argument for the role of insults which you aren't responding to here, Psychdave. I can accept the argument that there are many situations in which insults are just pointless. "God doesn't exist, you asshole." is one such sense. But it would be insulting to a Christian to say "your religion is a fairy tale". This both makes an argument AND uses an insult. But the insult is re-enforced by the fact of the opinion of the insulter to the insultee.

As Shahmir says, the receiver of the insult is just as important to the fact of an insult as the insult itself. To some Christians it is just to tell a gay man he should feel shame for being gay (I've heard such literal phraseology from an Australian senator). Which to the gay person is an insult, REGARDLESS of the claim of the bible that homosexuality is wrong. Any claim may be made, but it doesn't justify itself as "not insulting" just because it's believed to be just.

To borrow the context of a murderer you've brought up: if my child, once Muslim, was killed by my Islamic neighbor because my child abandoned his religion - and it is a verifiable Islamic law that you ought kill your neighbor when they are an apostate - then I would be deeply offended by such insult against my Child's right to safety.

Between mine and Shahmir's logic you must confirm that you agree with us, because the following is in inherently logical statement:

In some situation, insults are a powerful way to initiate a discourse.
In some situations, insults are just a vain emotional expression.
Religion is a topic of both rational and emotional discourse
Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to insult religion (and by contrast, sometimes necessary for religions to be insulting).

I agree with Getmurked that one ought to be the better man sometimes. I'm not disputing that nor am I claiming that insults are always great or reasonable. Just that we deserve a legal right to be insulting to religion. You can argue that often it's wrong, often it's futile. But you cannot argue we deserve no right to do it, nor that it is always inappropriate. And I don't care how many Muslims think it's just for me to be continuously burned, scalded, beaten and condemned verbally. It is an insult to agree such is justly deserved when your belief structure is dubious in the first place. And I'll be the better man by saying they deserve the right to make that insult. As do I to draw Muhammad if I believe such to be just.

4 years, 6 months ago
replied to...

It's not easy to change your mind, Shahmir. Welcome to the site. Stick around. We need more of your kind around here.

4 years, 6 months ago

Insults are partially to interpretation and audience, but there is a difference between saying "There is no proof God exists." and "There is no proof God exists and you are all stupid for believing." One is an opinion and a start of a dialogue, the other is intentionally confrontational and serves no purpose.

Saying that you are insulted by religious texts talking about heretics and nonbelievers doesn't make the text inherently insulting. From the religious perspective, being a heretic is a crime. To say that the punishment is an insult is like a murder saying that the legal code is insulting. I don't believe we should like by religious law, but it's existence is not an insult, it is a code of behavior and consequences. You are welcome to disagree with either, and some definitely should be disagreed with, but if they insult you that is entirely your interpretation.

If I came to this debate with insults for everyone who disagreed with me, we would never be able to have a meaningful exchange of ideas, and it would accomplish nothing. If we all approach it with respect, even if we disagree and never reach consensus, we can learn more about how each of us think and why, and can either moderate our own opinions or, at the very least, be more tolerant of those who don't share our opinions.

4 years, 6 months ago

1. There is a very fine line between insults and plain argument. It's to the extent of how the person receives the remark. If I said "There is no such thing as God, it's something that is made up". That can be an insult or it can be viewed in a different light.
2. Religion uses insults as has been said.

3. I agree with the idea of being the better person is good. And I do not see how that is impacted here. I would even go to the extent of saying it could be beneficial for the marginalised communities. When people talk about a religion being useless, responding in a mature way on a global scale is powerful. I think it's not harmed in this sense because the other party is the one harmed.

4 years, 6 months ago

saying you can insult someone because they insult you doesnt make it right. " two wrongs dont make a right"
dont fight thier battle. be the better man. insults bring nothing to the table but heated words and deragotory statements, and can bring a friendly debate to a firefight. using insults when arguing is uneffective and frowned upon, use facts and strong statements to assert your claim, rather than brandish and plunder someonelses view, which will not get them to change, especially when it comes to religion

4 years, 6 months ago

I would say there is an extremely fine line between an insult and a statement. The question that arises is the what extent can I make a statement that will not be an insult. If a person says your scriptures are false and contradictory, could that be an insult.

This leads to the second idea, whereby free speech can always be countered with more free speech. This simply means any controversial or derogatory statements when responded to, creates a meaningful initiative to discourse. This is especially true when the response is well thought out, and done in a calm yet sharp manner.

Furthermore, following the idea of I_Voyager, as religion itself uses insults in its texts, so it reinforces the idea that insults are a powerful way of initiating discourse. It stems from the idea that controversial statements in general leads to great thinking.

To illustrate (although this may not be true), when a person says "All Muslims are terrorists", not only will that statement receive tons of criticism and enlighten many individuals, but it is the Islamic community who best progresses from such extreme insults especially when responded with maturity.

All in all, the ones who need free speech the most is the stigmatised and marginalised communities who do need to enlighten others about their community.

4 years, 6 months ago

Rational arguments are, and should be, protected. Insults serve no purpose. No one will rethink their position because someone insulted them, now will Insults create tolerance or understanding. If one side uses insults, even if they are perceived insults from the texts, to stoop to insulting in return may make you feel better, but all it will accomplish is to reinforce the view that you deserved the original judgment.

4 years, 6 months ago

It is hard for many people from position A to understand the value of position B. In this case, it is downright impossible for the religious to see how an atheist or an antitheist can find value or just cause to be insulting to religions. At least, for those religious who do not also possess strong secular values (such as Getmurked).

I will try to give you some insight into the position I take, believing religious positions and religions themselves sometimes deserving ridicule.

The religious person begins believing that their religion is just. It is a moral code, and it is true. Human morals must be lesser than gods morals. If a claim is made that a part of the religion is insulting, the fault must be with the non-believer, for they doesn't understand the truth. This bias may lend itself to a double-standard.

Islam does this frequently. It's an extremely self-aware faith with little respect for non-religious value systems, because it cannot step outside of Islam and imagine a value system that ties together common values into a single secular system. Nor can the Muslim can ever understand why the Quran is always insulting, in of itself, to the non-believer.

Yet I quote Surah 22:

"... but those who deny their lord (otherwise, me), - for them will be cut out a garment of Fire: over their heads will be poured out boiling water. With it will be scalded what is within their bodies, as well as their skins. In addition, there will be maces of iron (to punish) them. Every time they wish to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be forced back therein, and (it will be said), 'You taste the Penalty of Burning!'"

Since the Muslim necessarily believes that god, in all his doings, is just, they must believe this is justly deserved for the non-believer. It must be said by the Muslim: "You deserve to burn, be scalded by boiling water, and be beaten for all time, and be told of what you deserve."

This is extremely insulting. But because it is protected by "right to religion", your belief in this insulting and seemingly invented justice is protected too. Yet we cannot draw Muhammad and point out how insulting the actions and lifestyles of Muslims are to us? Even though your morals are not ours? It is a silly and demeaning hypocrisy, and often Islam doesn't understand how badly it wants to have its cake and to eat it to, to rule others morality whilst not at all being ruled.

4 years, 6 months ago
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