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Center for Inquiry’s BLASPHEMY CONTEST

You’ve got to wonder what an organization that touts itself for critical thinking is thinking when it sponsors a BLASPHEMY CONTEST:

BLASPHEMY CHALLENGE

Since Darwin is their god, it would be interesting to submit to this contest true statements about Darwin’s less than divine attributes.

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30 Responses to Center for Inquiry’s BLASPHEMY CONTEST

  1. Bill, why are you always scooping me on wingnut news? I still haven’t completely forgiven you for scooping me on the Big Bazooms theory of human evolution.

    Oh well, I suppose if one can’t be big-bazoomed or big-behinded, one can at least be big-minded, so SPLUTTER! I forgive you.

    Now, to business: you are right, this is truly weird.

    Here is the main problem: They are not talking about what they really want to talk about because they are AFRAID.

    Personally, I have never lived in a place where it wasn’t okay to say negative stuff about God, religion, churches, the pastor, the church board, et cetera, and people do it all the time.

    But these people are talking about radical Islam – only they are cowards so they can’t actually say that.

    If my own experience in Canada is any guide, here is what will happen: A bunch of (typically, tax-supported) drones will get up and say negative things about Christians or religion in general, but no one will address what they are – and properly should be – really concerned about.

    To see what I mean, watch The Stoning of Soraya M.

    It’s okay not to try to do anything.

    But if those people are not there doing anything, they are complete idiots if they think they are any kind of heroes of free thought.

    By the way, the Canadian journalist who did try to do something got beaten to death a couple of years ago.

  2. A blasphemy contest! It seems rather odd,
    A free exercise in denying God.
    Some circle under the sun,
    So nothing new is begun.
    They’re breaking “new” ground where old footfalls have trod . . .

  3. “Council for Secular Humanism” huh?

    I can’t say I’m surprised at their low “inane drone” level of intelligence (if I may abuse the word)?

    A few good, and rapid fire, repeated placements of large boots to the hind parts of such beasts sounds good right now.

    But, in this day and age of Xian wimps groveling before the wicked in obsequious fawning – supposedly in the name of our Lord – that isn’t allowed.

    Maybe it should be?

    What other reaction should sane people take – other than ignoring these botched clones of fools?

  4. Alas, Borne, there are many people whose plight we can’t ignore, even though these “blasphemers” are missing in action.

    I agree that ignoring the “blasphemers” is wise. The world will ignore them, and I wouldn’t advise wrecking one’s feet or shoes dealing with them.

    Here in my own province of Ontario there have been two recent incidents of alleged “honour killing” ( a chronic problem in middle Eastern countries), involving five female victims. 4 + 1 In one case, the alleged perpetrators didn’t help their cause much when they were caught trying to flee to Afghanistan*.

    Also recently, an Islamist extremist was sent up for hard time for plotting to behead our Prime Minister. Gee, fella, thanks for being Citizen of the Year.

    (PM Stephen Harper, unpopular in some quarters, has a minority government, which means that his party controls only the largest number of seats, not a majority. He could go down if other parties cared enough to unseat him by pooling votes. So he is not exactly Sauron the Great, right?)

    My point? Just this: Most people are smart enough to see that if these “blasphemers” are merely going to aim puffballs at people like me, who see through them and otherwise don’t care, they are nothing and nobody. Whoever is contributing to their cause should stop now. If the “blasphemers” wanted to deal with real menaces, trust me, there are plenty.

    *Hint: If one is accused of a crime of this nature in Canada, it is best not to try to flee to Afghanistan.

    We have a reasonable justice system here. It’s not perfect, but we try really hard. So don’t flee at all. That tends to make people think you are admitting guilt.

  5. A phrase, poem, or statement? This has to be a joke. Any scientific enterprise that sponsors a English composition contest can only be considered a complete failure.

  6. When I blogged about a podcast from Reasonable Doubts, hosted by a group that’s associated with The Center For Inquiry in Michigan, I got this response from one of the “doubtcasters”:

    Just make an effort to accurately represent our position. I would do that much for you.

    I wonder if The Center For Inquiry will call on everyone who participates in this challenge to do that much for us.

  7. Ya I heard the whole honor killing thing and followed it a bit. Pretty disgusting.

    Here in Quebec there was a case, last year, of a Quebec woman who for reasons I can’t recall, told her Muslim neighbour to go back to her own country.

    The Quebec HRC took over after the Muslim complained and the woman was forced to pay a several 1000 $ fine for speaking her mind – also known as a “hate crime” here in Canada.

    The mayor of one Saguenay in Quebec is up on the carpet because he insisted on saying a short simple prayer before city council meetings.

    An atheist jerk (whom if I recall had nothing to do with city council) complained to the HRC and the mayor has been dragged through the pits of HRC fascism since – but he’s fighting back.

    I sent him a personal encouragement to let him know he’s not alone in this battle against the Canadian thought gestapo… er … I mean HRCs.

    While surfing, and looking for more info on that, I cam across a Quebec web site where the atheist was there bragging about his success against religion.

    I think HRC could better stand for Halfwit Rampallian Churls – but I’m not sure I should rank churls so low.

  8. Borne: Churls are only unlettered; they are not usually weapons aimed against their fellow citizens. So they deserve a better reputation.

    But if you check recent key news, you will find that we are starting to fight back against the would-be social engineers in Canada.

    We will win.

  9. Here’s my blasphemy: God does exist, and Darwin is not his prophet.

    Let’s see how many blasphemers denigrate Christianity as opposed to Islam.

  10. Not for those who are faint-of-heart:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wimTs3P8FG0

  11. Here’s my blasphemy: Evolution and natural science vastly support a designed universe (and therefore, a God of at least some kind) over atheism, time and again.

  12. Denyse:

    Personally, I have never lived in a place where it wasn’t okay to say negative stuff about God, religion, churches, the pastor, the church board, et cetera, and people do it all the time.

    My experience is different in the US – one treads carefully in most company where I live. It may be a US/Canadian thing (I’ve spent considerable time in both countries.)

    But these people are talking about radical Islam – only they are cowards so they can’t actually say that.

    This smacks a bit of stereotyping. You could also be Catholic in Ireland.

    Personally, I prefer religion to be like sexual preference – what you do in your home/church is your business. But I don’t think religion deserves special immunity from criticism – it should stand or fall like any other institution on its actions or merits.

  13. mikev6, the anti-blasphemy thing is, in general, under Islamic sponsorship rather than Catholic sponsorship.

    In a Christian context in North America, it would be unenforceable.

    What will you do with the Piss Christ or Elephant Dung Virgin Mary? – both American products, so far as I know, and alleged to be works of art – probably tax burdens as well.

    Most Christian issues around these alleged works of art do not focus on their legality but on how and why they are funded.

    By the way, I must tread carefully myself in social situations, because it is unwise to insult one’s hostess or employer or the guy who fixes the washing machine.

    That doesn’t mean I can’t say that God is unjust or religion is a big fraud or the church is run by useless drones or the pastor is a bore or the church board are a bunch of nitwits. I could certainly say all these things and I bet you could too, in the US.

    If you must be careful how you say them, that just means you live in a society, not a wilderness where you can rant to wild animals and trees if you like.

    Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the purely social consequences of speaking one’s mind.

  14. Deny God?

    Ok, maybe I am just really dull, but (somebody help me if necessary) is that not the same thing as denying reality?

    To deny God is to deny one’s own convictions and beliefs whatever they may be.

    Whatever you believe people… that is your God. And that is especially and appearently true if you need to protect that god by creating a bitter climate of bigotry and persecution in order to silence the opposition.

    LOL… as Denyse points out… try that with Islam.

    Totally unbelievable!

  15. This is all just, well…er, nuts!

    I can only assume that all the decent secular humanists have left the movement and it is now run by fresh out of college phyrangula fanatic types.

    All intent on high fiving themselves out to the margins of society.

    Have a nice trip!

  16. Or consider the CFI’s advertising for an event as an evening ‘rail[ing] against the appalling idiocy of the right-wing wankersphere’. Hmm….okay.

    Their other suggestions for blasphemy are equally childlike. Bring along insulting/mocking boardgames!

  17. It shouldn’t be too hard to lampoon something they regard as sacred:

    “Since there is no God
    ‘Murder’ is just another word
    Try and prove me wrong.”

  18. The asked for Haiku so I submitted this:

    The mere suggestion
    That Darwin was in error.
    Heretic expelled!
    -b

  19. “God” is a baseball fan.

    Why else would the Bible start of with :

    “In the big inning…”

    :)

  20. Joseph (17),

    ““God” is a baseball fan.

    Why else would the Bible start of with :

    “In the big inning…””

    Nice one! And as confirmation of your thesis, note that that event must have occurred in the Precambrian ERA….

  21. Denyse:

    mikev6, the anti-blasphemy thing is, in general, under Islamic sponsorship rather than Catholic sponsorship.

    Ireland is 88% RC, and 0.49% Islamic. The text of the law says:

    “(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”

    So you feel that Catholics in Ireland opposed this bill and it was passed despite that opposition by a strong Islamic movement? You also feel that only Islam is upset with blasphemy and Christians are immune to it? In that case, why the post here on UD?

    In a Christian context in North America, it would be unenforceable.

    In a secular context it would be unenforceable. There have been enough bizarre Christian-sponsored bills in various states to convince me that if a purely Christian context existed they would be willing to give this a try.

    What will you do with the Piss Christ or Elephant Dung Virgin Mary? – both American products, so far as I know, and alleged to be works of art – probably tax burdens as well.

    Most Christian issues around these alleged works of art do not focus on their legality but on how and why they are funded.

    I don’t have to like this but I support artistic freedom, because otherwise someone may decide to ban art that I do like. The “Christian” issue around this art is that people consider them blasphemous and want them to go away, and the fastest way to do that is to attack artistic funding. Since much artistic funding comes (appropriately IMHO) from the government, this is a backhanded way to force the government to intervene in something that is considered blasphemy.

    By the way, I must tread carefully myself in social situations, because it is unwise to insult one’s hostess or employer or the guy who fixes the washing machine.

    That doesn’t mean I can’t say that God is unjust or religion is a big fraud or the church is run by useless drones or the pastor is a bore or the church board are a bunch of nitwits. I could certainly say all these things and I bet you could too, in the US.

    I fully agree – in social interactions, one tends to be more circumspect (to a point, of course). However, I see many fish symbols on cars. I don’t have a problem with that. If I put the ‘wrong’ fish symbol on mine, my car is likely to get vandalized. Yet I could choose from a wide variety of bumper stickers that (to me) feel far more offensive in general, and these probably won’t cause an issue other than some raised eyebrows. Is this merely the “social consequence” of free expression? Sure, and one may have to accept that. But your artistic example is one which goes beyond social interaction to trying to force government policy based on a special sensitivity to religion.

  22. In other words, rather than rationally discuss the merits of religious belief, we’ll just blaspheme. That’s more our style.

    (insert eyeroll here)

    The above poster who menioned denying reality and the three cups of coffee I’ve had made me compose a song (sung to the tune of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked) :

    GOD:
    Oh, Charles…why couldn’t you have stayed in England instead of sailing the world over? Are you happy now that you’ve completed your endeavor? Do you think you’re clever?

    DARWIN:
    I hope you’re happy, too…my child is gone and you expect me to grovel in submission to feed your own ambition!

    GOD/DARWIN: Although I can’t imagine how, I hope you’re happy right now.

    GOD: Charles, please, listen to me…you can still be with Annie forever..what you’ve trained and worked for…I can give you all you ever wanted…

    DARWIN: I know. Deep down, I know…but I don’t want it anymore.

    Something has changed within me, something is not the same
    I’m through with playing by the rules of your religious game
    Too late for second guessing, too late, I’m in too deep
    It’s time to close my eyes, trust in myself, and leap
    It’s time to try defying reality
    I think I’ll try defying reality
    And you can’t bring me down!

    GOD: Charles, Can’t I make you understand, you’re having delusions of grandeur?

    DARWIN: I’m through accepting limits because you say they’re so
    Some beliefs I cannot change, but until I try I’ll never know
    Too long I’ve been afraid of losing your love, which I guess I’ve lost
    But if that’s love, it comes at much too high a cost
    I’d sooner buy
    Denying reality
    I think I’ll try denying reality
    And you still can’t bring me down!

    (spoken) There must be some way to join the two…evolution and faith

    GOD: I cannot deny myself, Charles.

    DARWIN: Without God, my future is unlimited…Think of what people will do in my name…

    GOD: Charles, please…if you want your future to be unlimited, then come back to me.

    DARWIN: Yes, unlimited…
    I think I’ll try denying reality
    Just the atheists and I,
    Denying reality
    My name will be set upon high
    Denying reality

    GOD (sadly): I hope you’re happy now that you’re choosing this.

    DARWIN: I am.

    GOD: You know, it won’t bring you bliss

    DARWIN:
    I really hope I get it and don’t live to regret it

    GOD/DARWIN:
    Will you/I be happy in the end? When you/I am no longer your friend?

    DARWIN:
    So if you care to find me
    Look to Westminster Abbey
    As someone told me lately
    “Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority” (Thomas Huxley)
    And I’m not flying solo
    There are those whose thoughts are free
    And to those who’d argue for design
    Take a message back from me
    And tell them how I am denying reality
    Believing in nothing is denying reality
    And soon I’ll match Newton in renown
    And nobody in all the Earth
    No God that there is or was
    Is ever going to bring me down!

    (Brooms and pyrotechnics optional)

  23. (a t-shirt and a coffee mug) v (eternal life)

    “Pesons le gain et la perte, en prenant choix que Dieu est. Estimons ces deux cas?: si vous gagnez, vous gagnez tout?; si vous perdez, vous ne perdez rien. Gagez donc qu’il est, sans hésiter.” –Blaise Pascal

    At the end of the day this is all the humanists have to offer – a t-shirt and a mug.

  24. Mikev6,

    I haven’t researched the situation in Ireland, but I do know that Islamic-dominated nations are the main group interested in official blasphemy laws. And the religion they mean to protect is Islam, not Catholic Christianity.

    That means, explicitly, protecting it against criticism by Muslims and others who are angry about injustices perpetrated in its name. I know some, and they are fine people.

    Right now, one problem is that too many people are unintentionally complicit. In one recent alleged honour killing case here in the Greater Toronto Area, there was a brief big noise about how “domestic violence” happens in all cultures, so we shouldn’t use the term “honour killing”.

    Sure. Domestic violence happens in all cultures. But the vast majority of cultures in Canada do not feature men who think they have the right to murder women who don’t behave the way their culture demands.

    If the Irish follow suit with the Islamists, they should be ashamed of themselves.

    Is it possible they are afraid of Islamic fascists? Lord knows, after 9-11, 7-11 and the Tube bombings, some people may just be quietly selling out.

    Here in Canada, free speech activists have just fought (and won) huge battles with Islamists who were spurred on by assistance from government.

    Maybe the Irish should visit Canada more often.

    For one thing, if local experience is any guide, they will soon learn that Christians and Jews are more often the targets than the instigators of proceedings under this type of legislation.

    Oh, by the way, two pieces of good news:

    1. Anyone who is elected can introduce a bill. If Christian nutcase bills, don’t pass in the US, that SHOWS that it is a working system. Remember, you do have a First Amendment.

    2. You will know you have real problems if someone hired by the government vandalizes your car, rather than some lone loon who prowls the street at night.

    No government can entirely protect you from him without instituting an autocracy that you would rightly reject.

  25. These would be cool on a tee-shirt or billboard.

    Darwinism is not fact but fiction.

    Darwinism is not a fact but a false explanation.

    Darwinism is not a fact but a mental disorder.

    Darwinism is best left to the disconnected expert.

    Careful! Recovering Darwinist.

  26. Hello.

    I’m referenced earlier in the comments. I’m the atheist who asked that the Christian blogger accurately represent my position and I would do the same.

    Well its happened again, such as with this comment

    “In other words, rather than rationally discuss the merits of religious belief, we’ll just blaspheme. That’s more our style.”

    If you read the graphic above you will see what the event is about…protesting international blasphemy laws. Its celebrated on September 30th because that was the day in 2005 that the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohamed were published. In the wake of the protests blasphemy laws have been used to silence very reasonable criticism of Islam (which I cant imagine you good Christian folk would have a problem with). The blasphemy contest isn’t supposed to be a substitute for critical thinking or rational discussion… its to make a bold statement that free speech includes the right to criticize and yes even to (gasp) offend. In other words, we’re working to help defend your right to say some of the horrible things that evangelical Christians sometimes say about Islam.

    Disagree with the approach all you want. But try to include a little bit of what its about in your commentary.

    By the way, I’m speaking at one of these Blasphemy Day events. And I have been planning all along to throw some atheist sacred cows into the mix. Just like you folks are suggesting here! In fact, I know of an atheist group that was seriously considering getting a billboard that would mock the new atheists to show their commitment to this principle: everyone has the right to speak there mind…but no one has the right to not be offended (especially using government force to that end).

    p.s. Just thought I’d throw this in to make everyone like me. Ya wanna know what got me started towards atheism? I had this crazy idea that one should love God with all their heart, soul and mind. So to be a stronger creationist I picked up some books on evolution. It wasn’t too long before I started noticing how dishonest some of my apologist heros were being with the other side. And I started to wonder…what else might they be lying about?

    Thanks guys. Its made such a difference ;-)

  27. Oh yes…

    “Careful! Recovering Darwinist.”

    That is perfect Tim. Perfect!

    I may just have it made.

  28. 28

    THE DARWINIC VERSES

    Darwin was ‘fittest’
    and so was Lamarck
    That’s why they questioned
    the flood and the ark
    Gould and The Dawkins
    their offspring intell (ectual)
    came to the same realization as well

    But DemBski and co
    conspired to deflate
    with rigrour and vigor
    their claims of the late
    and so like egg Humpty
    they had a great fall
    along with their stories
    their musings and all

    Is that blasphemous enough?

  29. Well this isn’t about Darwin. But about a related branch of science.

    “To design is devine” is not our party line,
    for design can be alien too
    but do aliens magically spring from the void
    or are they descended from goo?

    Well “Life comes from life” is the rule that applies
    intelligence likewise from same.
    “Goo” theories of E.T. we sadly discard
    as mere “just so” stories, and lame.

    E.T was designed by a Meta E.T
    and so on to unknown extent
    for billions and billions, or thousands, of years
    (depends who you ask in the tent)

    So how did this process first get underway
    the question does not seem so hard
    but don’t ask it here, you’ll be banned and I fear
    also beaten, shot, feathered and tarred.

  30. Hah hah hah hah hah hah !!!!

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