As a dedicated agnostic, or in other words a doubter as to whether an all-powerful, all-knowing ‘almighty’ might or might not exist, I’m aware that my very existence is anathema to those billions of ‘believers’ who claim to deplore blasphemy, or what my Webster’s dictionary defines as ‘the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.’
I console myself, however, with the thought that if such a supreme divinity did exist, he/she/it would likely not even deign to notice, let alone give a damn about, my or any other mere human being’s might/might-not opinion on this or any other question.
In fact, in the unlikely event that the almighty/almight-not-be did notice me despite my utter insignificance in the great scheme of things, he/she/it might, rather than blaming me for my doubts, perceive them as a blessing for the reason that, in taking the trouble to wonder which if any of the countless competing combinations of gods and religions is the genuine article, at least I’m using my allegedly God-given mind.
In other words, I believe there is a strong and even ‘religious’ case for considering those of us who sincerely contemplate, question, doubt and even reject allegedly ‘accepted’ so-called ‘beliefs’, ‘faiths’ and ‘truths’ or ‘wisdoms’ as not the ‘blasphemers’ we’re cracked-up to be, but what could justly be called blessphemers.
Whereas the real blasphemers are those who proclaim their unquestioning belief in some God, yet think nothing of ‘insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for’ their God whenever it suits what they perceive to be their economic, political or other secular self-interests.
As, by way of most recent example, Islamic extremists in Indonesia have recently done in support of political opportunists hell-bent on denying the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, another term in office, and into the bargain having him flung into jail.
Faced with the prospect of the popular Ahok’s winning a second term despite his being both Christian and Chinese, two minorities long embattled and at times even savagely-persecuted in Indonesia, some ‘pious’ Muslim political competitor accused him of insulting the Quaran.
Never mind that this was a lie of Islam-disgracing proportions, in light of the fact that what Aho had done was to complain in a speech that a line from the Quran was already being (mis)used by his opponents to unfairly deter Muslims from voting for him, the Islamic mob staged months of mass-demonstrations to force the courts to convict him of blasphemy.
And now these same sanctimonious scum, unsatisfied with his conviction and condemnation to two years in jail are still hysterically calling for his sentence to be made more severe.
Of course this instance of blasphemy, or in other words ‘insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for’ their own God and what even the most willfully ignorant of them well know to be His moral stipulations seems trivial in comparison with the murderously un-Islamic activities of the such mega-blasphemers as the Taliban, Islamic State, Boko Haram and so on.
But its relative mildness by no means excuses this or the similarly blatant blasphemies routinely engaged in by the rulers and supporters of every other Islamic ruling regime I can think of, including the one I know the best and thus loathe the most, Malaysia’s Umno/BN.
With absolutely breathtaking hypocrisy, a sin that I understand that the Quran deplores more than most others, Umno/BN has for decades on the one hand portrayed itself as engaged in a ‘struggle’ to defend Malay-Muslim race, royalty and religion against a variety of imaginary aggressors, while on the other hand it has allegedly – a qualification that of course I employ solely for legal reasons – robbed Malaysians of all races and creeds of everything you can think of.
Everything from tangibles like cash, land, oil, timber and other natural resources through to legitimate institutions including an independent judiciary, truthful news media, impartial electoral authorities and an enlightened educational system.
The only saving grace I see Umno/BN as having, and that only by default, is that it is almost as incompetent as it is corrupt and otherwise criminal, and thus its decades of attempting to keep Malaysians as ignorant, unthinking and just plain dumb as possible has been far from completely successful.
In fact so many Malaysians, Malays and non-Malays alike, have proven so intellectually resilient in the face of the god-forsaken regime’s endless attempts to render them so brain-dead as to keep supporting it that they’re now in the majority, and so Umno/BN relies more than ever on systematic gerrymandering of electorates and constant bribery of the blissfully ignorant minority to keep itself in power.
As vividly if depressingly illustrated by the recent festivities held to celebrate a milestone that most of us lament: the 71st anniversary of the foundation of the Umno party.
An event to which 80,000 people presumably so blissfully ignorant or uncaring of the fact that Umno is a blot on and a blasphemy against the religion it pretends to protect that they were prepared to so similarly and shamefully join in the blasphemy by ‘celebrating’ with these crooks in return for such pitiful ‘gifts’ as RM30 in cash, a six-pack of Ribena and a packet of 40 Gardenia Twiggies.
In the face of such unholy idiocy, it’s very tempting to give up all hope for Umno/BN’s Malaysia. But a story out of Ireland this week has demonstrated that anything is possible.
A complaint from somebody who objected to an anti-God diatribe by actor, writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry on a BBC program called ‘The Meaning of Life’ that was aired in 2015 led to a police investigation of Fry on a charge of blasphemy, an offence still included in the Irish Republic’s Defamation Act.
And on the face of it Fry seemed as guilty as sin, having posed such questions on air as ‘Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?’
‘The God who created this universe, if it was created by God,’ he continued, ‘is quite clearly a maniac’ before adding a good deal more in the same vein.
But get this! In the very same Ireland that was for centuries the very epitome of ‘religious’ ignorance, intolerance and repression, people are apparently now so enlightened and broad-minded that the police have been able to find so few of them opposed to Fry’s clearly blasphemous remarks, or at least his right to utter them, that they’ve officially dropped the charge against him.
For my part, police charges or no, I feel that Stephen Fry and all the rest of us would-be critics of religions and fake religiosity would be better off saving our breaths in future. Because nothing we say makes the slightest dent in the self-serving ignorance and closed-mindedness of the faux-pious of Indonesia, Umno/BN’s Malaysia or indeed anywhere else. And in any case their own in-house blasphemies are far more destructive to the credibility of the Gods and religions that they so falsely and hypocritically claim to serve than ours could ever be.