Faith and Free Speech

March 3, 2017 in uncategorised

Secularism is a very important sense we need to consider. Although some believe that their faith is the way to live, others disagree and follow other faiths, and no faiths at all. I believe that it’s old fashioned to be unable to separate politics, education and social issues with religion. This is because we live in a world where there are so many different beliefs, and time has changed so much that we  must learn to accept that everyone feels differently about how they live life.

In counties across the world such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, ‘blasphemy’ is still a crime, because their country’s state is still ruled by their religion, Islam, making them Islamists. However, if people choose not to follow that religion, then they should be able to seek other faiths, or question it if they wish.

John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle is definitely agreeable. We should allow everyone to view their opinions, even if it does offend. Like Salman Rushdie said in The Satanic Verses; “To read a 600-page novel and then say that it has deeply offended you: well, you have done a lot of work to be offended.”

If you want to share your opinion, you must accept that others should be able to share theirs, even if it offends you. Not everyone will agree with you and that’s what makes a democratic state. However going back to what John Stuart Mill states in his Harm Principle, it’s only when it starts to harm others that it then becomes a problem. Finding the line between this can be difficult. For example, when the French Magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Islamic Prophet in an offensive way, terror attacks killed 12 people and left 11 harmed. Identifying themselves as the Yemeni branch of Al Qaida, the men found the images deeply offensive to their religion. The harm may be that the cartoonists were killed and many say that they should not publish such offensive images, however isn’t this just denying freedom of speech?

The magazine has been known to offend not just Islam, but Catholicism and Judaism. As someone who was brought up in a Roman Catholic household, I do not like to see offensive images of God or Christ, however I understand that it’s freedom of speech and the everyone has the right to their own voice and opinions.

Comments are closed.

Skip to toolbar