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Blasphemy is a victimless crime?

Let’s be truthful, you yourself don’t know if there’s a God as much as I don’t know if there’s a God. And nor does any other person. God remains an open concept – one that’s not demonstrated but one that’s also not disproved. God may exist or he may not exist – none of us know the answer as a matter of scientific actuality. Since the existence of god remains open, how can atheists make the conclusive claim that “blasphemy is a victimless crime”? Surely in order to testify that blasphemy is “victimless” one would need to establish as a matter of fact that there is no God? Since we don’t know if there is a God, wouldn’t it be more truthful, more logical, to say “blasphemy may be a victimless crime” or “blasphemy is probably a victimless crime”?

Posted: May 4th 2011

Tauriq Moosa www

Let’s be truthful, you yourself don’t know if there’s an invisible pink unicorn (IPU) as much as I don’t know if there’s an IPU. And nor does any other person. His Hooviness remains an open concept – one that’s not demonstrated but one that’s also not disproved. The IPU may exist or he may not exist – none of us know the answer as a matter of scientific actuality. Since the existence of IPU remains open, how can ahoovers make the conclusive claim that “blasphemy is a victimless crime”? Surely in order to testify that blasphemy is “victimless” one would need to establish as a matter of fact that there is no IPU? Since we don’t know if there is a IPU, wouldn’t it be more truthful, more logical, to say “blasphemy may be a victimless crime” or “blasphemy is probably a victimless crime”?

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Replace the invisible pink unicorn (IPU) with any other magical entity: fairies, goblins, Zeus, etc.

Posted: May 7th 2011

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Ophelia Benson www

If you don’t know there’s a god, how do you know it’s a he? You called it “he,” right after saying you don’t know if there is such a person/entity/agent/character.

“God” is such an open concept that it’s meaningless unless pinned down. It means different things to different people, so it can be futile to try to talk about it without defining it first.

If nobody knows there is a god, nobody also knows what god is like, or who god is; therefore it’s impossible to know what “blasphemy” would be. Maybe god is green and froglike and therefore Kermit the Frog is blasphemy. Anything could be blasphemy; therefore, we might as well forget the whole thing.

Posted: May 7th 2011

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George Locke

Suppose we grant your argument, and agree (for the moment) that some non-falsifiable Gods could be victimized by blasphemy. So what? Is this an argument that people shouldn’t blaspheme?

You can’t categorically prove that there’s not a god who considers the use of pencils blasphemous. Should we stop using pencils?

If blasphemy against hypothetical beings is a problem, then it’s apparently a problem without a solution, since any action is blasphemous to some conceivable being.

If you want to argue that the kinds of blasphemy defined by popular religions are a problem while pencil use is not, then you need to explain why the beings those religions hypothesize are more worthy of deference than my pencil hating god. Merely arguing that I can’t categorically disprove them won’t do.

Regardless, I don’t think your argument holds water. In order to be a victim, you have to actually be. Unless you can show that there’s a good reason to believe that these deities exist, there’s no good reason to believe that they could be victims.

Posted: May 6th 2011

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Blaise www

I see two problems with your statements.

First, the only being that could possibly be a 'victim’ of blasphemy is supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent (o^3), and the ultimate designer and creator of the entire universe and everything in it. Do you really believe that such a being really considers itself a victim because a veritable speck of nothingness bad-mouthed it? And all that only even matters if there is a god, which it seems fairly likely at this point that there isn’t. So by definition, no victim = victimless.

Second, why would blasphemy be a crime? Even assuming absolute proof of a divine being, how would denying its existence be any different than denying, for example, your existence? If I declare publicly that you don’t exist, am I committing a crime? I can’t imagine how it could possibly harm you in any way. How much less then, for the ultimate, 'o^3’ high mucky-muck of all the cosmos?

If there’s no victim, and no crime, the entire discussion is a farce, because the very statement “blasphemy is a victimless crime” is silly, and your dissection of it pointless intellectual masturbation.

Have you considered the likelihood that any atheist you heard utter the phrase “blasphemy is a victimless crime” might have been making a joke?

Posted: May 6th 2011

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donsevers www

Welcome to atheism. When you realize that God stands on the starting line with flying pigs, elephants in Yellowstone and orbiting teapots, you’re an atheist. Atheists don’t have to claim there is no God. We just don’t claim there is one.

There are two kinds of claims: relations of ideas and matters of fact. We are ignorant concerning matters of fact because we can never have all the data. No matter how much we know about something, we will always have to admit we could be wrong; but only in 'matters of fact’, what philosophers call 'synthetic claims’, like “all swans are white”. It seems true, but there could be a black swan somewhere.

Relations of ideas are called 'analytic claims’ and are things like “Unmarried adult men are bachelors”. We can make such statements with absolute certainty. We don’t have to go interview all the unmarried adult men in the universe to determine if they are bachelors.

So it is with many god claims. “God is all-powerful and all-loving, yet stands by while kids get beaten to death by their stepdads”. We can rule this kind of God out because he doesn’t fit the definition of 'loving’. Such a god is like a married bachelor; it can’t exist.

This is significant because many of the most common god concepts in the world are actually impossible. We can thus be absolutely confident they don’t exist, just as we are sure that God is not solid iron filling the universe. We can rule it out.

Posted: May 6th 2011

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Reed Braden www

The idea that I can’t prove a god impossible doesn’t make its existence probable.

What you’re—rather self-righteously—asking is akin to, “Don’t make jokes about leprechauns! In the off chance that one exists, you don’t want to offend him!” There is as much evidence for gods as there is for leprechauns: exactly none. The only difference here is that magical leprechauns are only slightly less logically impossible than infinite, omnipotent creator/tinkerer beings. I’m decidedly a-leprechaunist with no false appeals of agnosticism to appease leprechaun believers, and all gods are much more logically impossible! So why should I pretend to be agnostic to suit your case? I am an atheist. I believe there is no god because there is no evidence for any gods ever existing, and it’s a waste of my time to mock the nonexistent unless I’m doing it to get a reaction out of people like you to make a point. But, yeah, it’s a victimless crime.

I’m not worried about offending any of the hundreds of thousands of god humanity has ever believed in, since none of them exist.

Posted: May 6th 2011

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Philip www

The idea that there is an impossibly complex being lurking in an impossible and undetectable place, who by staggering coincidence just so happens to be correct version, from the right religion, – Christianity – and just so happens to fit one of the 38,000 versions of him created by his followers, is a ridiculously impossible one.

With that sorted out, this God is reportedly responsible for ALL the atoms and molecules in the infinitely massive expanding universe, and apparently happens to have a long list of likes and dislikes – which cannot be verified – according to baseless rumour he has a special interest in the language used by certain carbon based life forms on a small blue green planet in a galaxy tucked away amongst the trillions of other galaxies in this super massive universe.

Backing any of this up to confirm it from a being who is absent in much the same way as all the other non-existant things in the universe, is impossible.

The only victims of blasphemy are the people who really worry about this sort of thing.

Posted: May 6th 2011

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SmartLX www

Just as when most atheists say there’s no god, the blasphemy joke is not meant to convey absolute certainty that there’s no god. That just appears to be the case.

Even if your particular God does exist, how exactly is He a “victim” of blasphemy? How can we puny humans possibly hurt an all-powerful being? Sticks and stones, for one thing, but come on.

Sure, if the punishment is real then the blasphemers become the victims (and, since the punishment is infinite by definition, they’re punished out of all proportion to their transgressions), but that’s not what “victimless crime” means. It means it doesn’t hurt anybody when you commit it. The most blasphemy can do even to a hypothetical God is upset the poor, sensitive megalomaniac.

Posted: May 6th 2011

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