Top 10 Reasons All Religion Should Be Mocked, Scorned & Held in Contempt
Mocking religion makes most people uncomfortable. After the tragic murder of the journalists at the French satiric paper Charlie Hebdo, it is hard to blame them. The meaningless and public murder of 12 people who were guilty of nothing but drawing cartoons has scared many people into criticizing Islam.
But, if the memory of those cartoonists and editors is to mean anything, it should be that the work that they did at their paper was valuable. They mocked religion, as was their right. They did not just mock one religion, they mocked as many religions as they could. The price they paid for it, death at the hands of religious extremists, is precisely the reason that their work is so important in the first place.
Their deaths proved that organizational religion must be reminded that it is not an all-knowing organization that should control the lives of believers. Of course, not all religious believers are capable of the extremism demonstrated through history; it is often only a select few. But, these few cause more than their fair share of damage.
Religion should be mocked, and this mocking would bring it back down from its authoritarian position in society. It forces believers to check and re-check the institutions they buy into on the advice of parents, friends and lovers.
Religion is one of humanity’s worst creations. It is imposed on the masses by those who want control and its nature blinds its followers from understanding the seriousness of their captivity. The only way to help humanity free itself from the shackles of organized religion is to mock it.
With these goals in mind, here are the top 10 reasons all region should be mocked, scorned and held in contempt.
Mocking Religion Demystifies It
One of the biggest assets that religion uses to control people is mysticism. In the past, religion relied on illiteracy and financial dependence to insist that religious leaders should have autonomy over the lives of the people who followed them.
Under the guise of mysticism, religious leaders have been able to hijack not only their followers’ religious beliefs but their cultural and political beliefs as well. One only needs to look at the hundreds of years of Catholic rule to see how negative this can be for society.
Because these leaders deemed themselves the divine leaders of a people and shrouded themselves in mysticism, they were able to get away with almost everything. The Catholic popes were behind the murders of thousands of politicians and normal people for centuries.
Beyond this, they also used this mysticism to control clergies across the world. Even small time priests and ministers relied on this mysticism to control believers at a micro-level. Although the Catholic Church is no longer responsible assassinations today, the child molestation scandals that continue to run rampant in many parishes is proof that these leaders still manipulate blind believers into acquiescing their every personal whim.
Indeed, the state of Israel uses the guise of mysticism to assert its political rights in a land that was not theirs until 60 years ago. When questioned, they either cry out the rights access to the mystical sites of their ancestors or that they are victims. However, a state that remains a political power with nuclear weapons surrounded by states with outdate weaponry is not a victim. Yet, the mysticism that shrouds the Jewish cultural origins is more effective than any missile.
If mocking religion brings it back down to Earth, then religious leaders can no longer cry out in the name of faith while they commit horrendous crimes against their followers and against humanity.
Mocking Religion Helps Separate Ethnic Groups from Religious Groups
One of the reasons that all religion should be mocked is because an engaged discussion will help distinguish the difference between a group of religious believers and a cultural, ethnic or racial group. Humans have been mocking religion for as long as it has existed; however, while it is fair to mock a person’s beliefs, it is not fair to mock the color of a person’s skin or their distinguishing features. This is precisely what happens when one religion is singled out and mocked.
This is true when you conflate followers of Islam with Arabs or other racial groups. Not all Arabs are Muslim, for instance, and the two terms are far from synonymous. The countries that deny asylum to recent Syrian refugees on the grounds that they are Muslim are confusing race with religion. A significant proportion of Syrians have traditionally been Christian, and some groups speak Aramaic, a Semitic language contemporary with Hebrew.
Denying asylum to refugees because they are Arab, which is what countries like Slovakia are overtly doing, is racism. Race is not something people choose. Race should not be mocked. People cannot choose where they are born nor can they choose at what period they are born in.
Religion should be separated from race and mocked. It will only help to delegitimize both institutionalized and concealed racism. You cannot choose the color of your skin but you can and do choose your religion. If you choose wrong, you deserve to be told.
All Religions Should Be Mocked Equally
There is one important caveat of mocking and scorning religions – every religion must be mocked equally. There are few religions that are more ridiculous than any others around them. Even those religions such as Transcendental Meditation are based on grounds that are not any less believable that mortals who descend into the heavens or half-mortals who perform miracles.
Beyond this, there is great danger inherent in not mocking all religions equally. If you do not mock each and every religion equally, you run the risk of inadvertently promoting a religion that is left out. Even if you do not explicitly promote a religion, you are providing material for others to use to do so.
Mocking religion is about more than just equal opportunity satire. It is important that all religions be mocked equally because it prevents any one religion from being elevated above the rest.
After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, YouGov conducted a poll among Americans asking them about their own beliefs as well as their beliefs about making fun of religion. Respondents reported that they believed that ridiculing Christianity is wrong, but that it is okay to ridicule Islam.
The report also found that after the attack, many Americans believed that it is less acceptable to ridicule Islam than it is to ridicule Christianity.
According to the poll, a large number of Americans believe that it is acceptable to poke fun of political parties and other countries’ governments but they wonder whether or not it is alright to make fun of religious beliefs.
Like political parties, people choose to join their religions. In many cases, religious beliefs are passed on from parents to children, but despite this, children have the opportunity to make their own decisions as they grow older.
If people choose to join religions, which they do in many modern cases, it essential to mock all religions fairly, just as one should mock all politicians equally.
But Mocking Religion Should Not Be for Lazy Comedy
An intellectual or engaged debate is an important part of mocking religion. This can make it a valuable tool for dealing with religion. However, mocking religion cannot be for the purpose of creating lazy comedy. Making comments about something that billions of people take very seriously to get laughs rather than thoughts is not going to get anyone to see the light. At best, they will laugh it off and move on. At worst, they will shoot up your office building.
Mocking religion is not about offending religious believers. It is about making them think about the things that they whole-heartedly believe just because another person told them so. Mocking religion is also not about assaulting someone’s beliefs. You cannot achieve this with lazy or offensive comedy but with provoking statements that encourage discussion. Bad jokes are quickly forgotten but thoughtfulness can bring down religion.
Religion Is At the Heart of Some of Today’s Biggest Human Rights Abuses
Politicians and religious leaders have consistently used “religion” as a methodology and means of repressing their own people. They consistently warp, manipulate and cherry-pick religious ideas for their own use.
One of the biggest abusers of human rights today is Saudi Arabia. The country is ruled by the house of Ibn Saud, a legendary and lethal Bedouin warrior who established the state between the First and Second World War.
It is his direct descendants who continue to manage the country. The royal family do not claim legitimacy like other monarchies in the area. Instead, they use brutal force to force their citizens into their will.
Rich Saudi princes and kings live lavishly. But it does not end with the inequality of wealth. These rules force strict laws upon their subjects while simultaneously publically flaunting these laws themselves.
They discriminate heavily against women and girls as well as those who practice other religions. They use religion as a tool to brutally torture and murder people on a regular basis.
No one can mock religion in Saudi Arabia and live to tell about it. For this reason, people who have the freedom to mock religion on behalf of the repressed Saudis and all other people who suffered imprisonment or death for doing so.
By mocking religion intelligently, people can help spread ideas and enlightenment that may even filter through the heavy censorship in these countries.
Mocking Religion Is About Undermining the Traditions, Figures and Institutions Created by Men
So, if mocking religion is not about mocking the belief in a divine spiritual power or powers, what is it about? It is about separating the religious traditions, figures and institutions from the divine spiritual power.
Most religious literature is ‘divinely’ inspired but could never be written by a deity themselves. It is not the prophets, the gods or the half-gods that wrote the religious literature used throughout history. It is the men around them who write these books after their death. These books are inspired by lives and teachings of these men; however, they are not written by the men themselves.
At the end of the day, the original traditions that are extolled by most religions are written by man and then deified posthumously. As a result, the constructs within them are also created by man. Anything created by another man can be justifiable mocked; especially if it was created to enslave people.
It is this late reification that makes believers of Abrahamic religions feel they are entitled to mock any religion that comes after them. Christians are quite happy to mock believers in scientology, for instance. The difference between the books written by L. Ron Hubbard and those written by the disciples is that L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986. People do not rely on archaeological and textual evidence to prove his existence. The founder of scientology is mocked for creating an unbelievable religion in a technological age rather than for creating an unbelievable religion.
Both of these religions are ridiculous. Tom Cruise may be jumping on sofas about it but people do much stranger and crazier things every day in the name of Christianity. They merely use scientology to say that they are better than everyone else because they have been around longer.
None of this is true. Scientology and Christianity are equally unbelievable and equally ridiculous. Both religions should be mocked contemptuously so that they can come to realize that.
Not Mocking Religion Is an Assault on Free Speech
In many western countries, citizens have the right to free speech. This right, in America, is guaranteed within the Constitution and is protected legally. Free speech is what the founders of America, and most of its modern citizens, consider to be a basic human right.
Of course, great and revolutionary thinkers did not fight for the right for citizens to speak their mind so that they could jabber on mindlessly. It is more likely that they hoped citizens would use this right would provoke, inspire and create a progressive atmosphere in the United States. This atmosphere would be fostered by a freedom from persecution by the government. While being able to get away with racist or offensive comments is a by-product of this, free speech was not included the constitution primarily so that you can call someone a donkey and not go to prison.
In this context, it is important to remember that there are things that free speech does not protect. What free speech does not include is to protect people who call for actions that cause harm to other people. It also does not include the ability to publically distribute obscene materials.
By using free speech in a constructive and meaningful way, you can make free speech safer for everyone. In addition to the censorship placed on citizens by governments and religious institutions, there is also a level of self-censorship that most people experience. Yes, the freedom of speech legally afforded to Americans includes the right not to speak. But, the only way to understand how to effectively communicate with other people is to practice this communication.
Free speech grants people opportunities to constructively question authority. Mocking religion to get people to open their eyes to those who both profit and control them is why free speech was instilled in the in American constitution.
The Media Already Use Similar Tactics in Politics
Sometimes using satire to discuss religious is shocking, but using shocking methods is one of the best ways of provoking discussion. If you are ever unsure of this, you can ask major news networks about how well this tactic works, and if they decline to comment, you could always ask Donald Trump.
Shocking statements are a great way to provoke conversation and thought about religion. Being shocking does not have to mean that the images are truly offensive. The line between the two is thin but it is distinguishable if you are thoughtful about what you say.
A great example comes again from the European protests of the 2014 Gaza war. Some protesters made signs that compared the war to the Holocaust and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler. These are very shocking tactics. To compare a self-declared Jewish state official to the Nazi party so soon after the end of WWII made many people uncomfortable. However, since this was a political accusation, many scholars deemed that it was not an anti-Semitic remark, no matter how uncomfortable it was to read.
Although most major news organizations would not print this exact statement, or even allude to it, journalist and politicians use these same shocking tactics to get their readers talking about the points they want to discuss. Donald Trump (hopefully) doesn’t truly believe that all Mexican immigrants are rapists, but now the entire nation is talking about immigration reform. This speaks to the effectiveness of using shocking tactics, like mockery, in starting a discussion about important issues.
If you do not shock religious believers, you will never get them to listen in the first place. If these tactics are worth of presidential candidates then they are worth of those who mock religion.
Making Fun of Religion Encourages Its Disassociation from Politics
America is one of the few countries in the world that has a constitutional and legal guarantee to separate religion from state operations. As of 2000, only 72 countries have no official state religion. Most of the European states that are secular are former Soviet states that have only recently been freed from the atheism that dominated Moscow politics for almost 100 years.
However, even supposedly secular states still play by religious rules. In America, public officers are still sworn in using the Bible. The national anthem includes reference to Christianity. Some states even have laws that prevent atheists from taking public office; however, they are not enforceable because these laws are undermined by the U.S. Constitution.
It is completely legal that Christians, Jews and Muslims may take public office while holding their own personal moral and religious beliefs. However, it is when a group of religious elected officials use their personal faith to justify national or even regional legislation that this becomes wrong.
For example, when politicians use religious texts or dogmas to justify not allowing full citizens a full range of rights, this is in violation of the constitution. Of course, they can say as they like with the power of free speech protecting them. But the belief that religion should be imposed on a secular public through a politician is the reason we need to mock religion.
Right-wing Christians forcing Americans to live under Christian policies is the starting point for the gross humanitarian abuses that happen in religious countries around the world.
Kings, czars and other monarchies have long justified their existence and reign by insisting they were appointed by some divine power. In democratic and secular states, it is the duty of citizens in democratic societies to ensure that both political power and religion is not thrust upon them by an official. This is why it is important to mock and delegitimize religion.
Mocking Religion Increases Tolerance
If religion is mocked and scorned equally, this can increase tolerance between humanity as a whole. If there is only one goal of mocking religion, it is to stop the politics from within from setting one religious group above another and then senselessly murdering each other as a result.
When people think of religious violence, they often think of the Inquisition, Islamists, Crusaders and other large groups of differing faiths which fight against each other. But there is so much sectarianism within major religious groups that this can outweigh the inter-religious fighting at times.
The fighting between the Catholics and the Protestants continues today. Like most battles, it is mixed in with politics and sovereignty. However, the root of the issue is still prevalent every summer when factions of the IRA set off bombs in Belfast.
The fighting between the Sunnis and the Shiites is another example of rampant sectarianism. Both of these groups also take their own religion so seriously that they are willing to segregate themselves and harm those on the opposing sides.
If you mock and reject religion and scorn the sectarianism and politics that are inherent in all religious institutions, you remove all of the reasons that most people have for stabbing their neighbors at a soccer match based on the color of the shirt they wear.
Mocking religion is not only acceptable, it is an obligation. Mocking religion promotes a Western right to public demonstration and free speech. It allows those who are free to speak for those who live under the tyranny that religious dogma so often brings.
If the world can learn anything from the tragedy at Charlie Hebdo, it is that religion needs to abolished. Religion has enjoyed thousands of years of tyranny over people around the world and this has resulted in nothing but death and loss. Allowing evil to masquerade itself as good under the guise of religion is one of the most irresponsible things that anyone can do.