Initially, I tried to explain myself further, mentioning humanism (which many believers reject because of its focus on us people here in this mortal coil rather than god and the afterlife), but then one guy actually tried to tell me there was no humanism until Mohammed brought/invented it! (Jaw drops.) I pointed out the antiquity of humanism (reasonably enough, I suppose); its roots in ancient India and the far east (like the Buddha's Golden Rule), the Greek philosophers... all this happening some 500-1000 years before Mo was even a glint in the milkman's eye. But no, I was wrong, stupid and uneducated: there was a book, written by some famous guy, that clearly showed that humanism only arrived with Mohammed! (It's not a very well-known book around here; the western world apparently desperately tries to deny its existence.) I can imagine what kind of idiot wrote that drivel; remember creepy cult leader (and convicted criminal) Adnan Oktar, who wrote a lavishly illustrated brick of a book called "Atlas of Creation" with generous financial backing of the Turkish government? The book denounced evolution and is scientifically about as trustworthy and desirable as used lavatory paper. So it's kinda unsurprising some other loon rewrote history with Mo as the central hero. The whole farce reminded me strongly of 1984, of course (still one of the most perspicacious and mordant books EVER written), where the wryly-named Ministry of Truth constantly updates and revises history to suit the present situation. I felt incapable of receiving further abuse from brainwashed idiots so I deleted their ugly comments. (To be fair, there was also a guy who talked back in a (mostly) respectful and reasonable manner. I still disagree with him of course, but I learned to live with that - see my former blog, "It is written!")
One thing that really baffles me is the equation of atheism with devil-worshiping. If you've got one functioning brain cell to spare, you can easily see that the absence of belief in nonexistent gods automatically entails a similar absence of belief in just-as-nonexistent devils! Is that really so hard to grasp? (As mentioned above, the link between freethought/atheism and terrorism, though ugly and stupid, is easier to understand because it's all about politics & power.) But in the simple black & white world of believers, you're either for or against; the thought that there could be a third category (outside) is completely beyond them. It's like the famous illustration of two-dimensional creatures (dots) living on a piece of paper: they simply cannot conceive of a third dimension. What is even worse though is that these loudmouths don't even understand the purpose of Hattar's act. He was no blasphemer and certainly no terrorist; he was an educated man who lived in Jordan, so he knew fully well what kind of reactions he'd have to face by posting this cartoon - and yet he did it! I can only admire this determination and courage in the face of an uneducated and aggressive mob. He was trying to make a point, to trigger a debate, to help renew and update the muslim faith so that it can thrive and function in the 21st century. I see this as a generous act of love for his own people and history. For which he got shot down in the street. Is it any wonder I call religion evil? Any ideology that puts antiquated and obsolete books or rules above the life of any living being is by definition evil and wrong. (The biggest problem of islam by far, as I see it, is its unwillingness to, and deep suspicion of, any kind of change; they have their Eternal Sacred Truths, and those will be unchanged "till the day of judgement", as one commenter put it. Even christians learned to adapt their faith in the end (after some gentle persuasion at times - granted), but as the qu'ran has to be taken 100% literal (because it says so, obviously), its captive believers can't change a single thing because the whole structure would come tumbling down immediately. It HAS to be correct, so the truth is warped to fit with the scriptures - or the scriptures are translated & interpreted to fit with the facts, a pattern we recognise only too well looking at Europe's bloody history. Islam has yet to learn how to develop doublethink.)
This week is International Blasphemy Rights Day (September 30); I'd say we desperately need more days like these to remind us of the work that still needs to be done. It's incredible that this kind of vile stupidity still occurs in 2016, but on the other hand: have a look at Trump supporters - they are really not that much different. The world seems headed for a pretty rough time; Steven Pinker's "The better angels of our nature" is a fascinating book, but I'd be really curious to know how he explains this surge of aggression and intolerance in people all over the world. I keep seeing that bleak image from "2001 - A Space Odyssey": the primate with his ugly snarl, a bone raised in his hand to brain his opponents. Are we really no better than this?