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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Heirs of Voltaire?

[...]

My answer to the commenter Voltaire on Dhimmi Watch is the condensed form. Most of the Voltaires of today are still fighting Voltaire’s enemies, even though Voltaire, if he were alive today, would be far busier on the real battlefield of today.

[...]

There’s the whole point: the modern Voltaires carry on with art, commercials and shows that put down every religion except Islam. They pat themselves on their backs for being so shocking, so brave, so taboo-breaking, so contending for freedom of thought and expression with their pictures of Jesus dipped in urine, with their models photographically manipulated to be shown with multiple arms like those Hindu sculptures, and so on, but when it comes to Islam… no voltage.

If Voltaire really was responsible for the current freedom of expression in the Christian world, then this means that most secularists are living off of his legacy, but doing nothing to emulate it, really emulate it. I said the story of absolute, Islamic-like religious repression in Voltaire’s Europe was debatable; but it’s not debatable that the Muslim world today is marked by religious repression. The Muslim world is in need of its Voltaires. In as much as blasphemous pictures of Jesus can be displayed today with no more than strong protest in reaction, Voltaire’s quest for the Christian world has run its course; while, as the Rushdie, Jyllands-Posten, Pope Benedict XVI, Idomeneo and Robert Redeker affairs show, Voltaire’s mission in the Muslim world has hardly even begun. That is to the shame of the professing Voltaires of today.

[...]

You can start with Voltaire’s idea, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. If you believe in that idea, and work toward the goal of having all people, including Muslims, accept it, then and only then can you truly call yourself an heir of Voltaire.

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posted by ziontruth at permanent link#

3 Comments:

Blogger Demosthenes said...

I disagree with your post, because I think your views are also in the past with Voltaire just like the people you criticize. Voltaire's attitude worked because he was dealing with a religion that had become reasonable, because there has also been some desire to appeal to people's logic in Judaism and Christianity. I don't think we face that in Islam. In Islam I see a religion that glorifies war and bullying--not logic. It is religion that we may not be able to tolerate or defend other people believing if we want the human race to survive as weapons of mass destruction become easier to obtain. We need to start thinking more about the world will be like twenty five years from now. I would like to lead a decent life then.

I would have similar doubts about Catholicism that I do with Islam. Catholicism glorification of human spawning cannot be tolerated in an age of environmental devastation due to human overpopulation, but luckily virtually no Catholics believe that stuff.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 1:32:00 am  
Blogger Demosthenes said...

Whoops, I meant say "It is a religion" above and not "It is religion" at the beginning of the fourth sentence. It makes me sound like I'm trying to eliminate religion and that was not my intent.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 1:37:00 am  
Blogger ziontruth said...

Demosthenes, you said:

"Voltaire's attitude worked because he was dealing with a religion that had become reasonable, because there has also been some desire to appeal to people's logic in Judaism and Christianity."

This is not the first time I get the feeling people react to the excerpts rather than the full post. Otherwise, in this case, I don't see how you could write this if you've read these passages:

"The secularist narrative with regard to Voltaire goes as follows: When he flourished, at the beginning of the 18th century, Christian Europe was as bad as today's Islamic world in many respects [...]

"How truthful is that narrative? Not having researched it thoroughly, I don't really know. [...] But this debate is irrelevant for the focus of the post. The focus is, as the title says, how much the secularists of today can regard themselves heirs of Voltaire. Taking the narrative at face value, realizing at least its value as founding mythos for non-theists today, the question I wish to ask is: in the face of today's greatest peril, namely the loss of Western freedom to Islamic shariah law, how well do the modern Voltaires bring their heritage to the breach?" (excerpts from the post not posted here on IBA, with emphases added)

I think, with those quotes in mind, my post turns out a whole new ball game. I'm thinking maybe I should change the way I excerpt my posts on IBA. As I said, reactions that don't take the full post into account aren't new.

And you said:

"It is a religion that we may not be able to tolerate or defend other people believing if we want the human race to survive as weapons of mass destruction become easier to obtain."

You must have been thinking my quote of Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it", was in defense of Muslims' right to preach their destructive ideology. That's even stranger to think, given that the excerpt right above ("[...] while, as the Rushdie, Jyllands-Posten, Pope Benedict XVI, Idomeneo and Robert Redeker affairs show, Voltaire's mission in the Muslim world has hardly even begun.") should make it crystal clear that I'm applying Voltaire's idea to the Muslims, who as yet reject it wholesale.

And you said:

"Catholicism glorification of human spawning cannot be tolerated in an age of environmental devastation due to human overpopulation, but luckily virtually no Catholics believe that stuff."

Human overpopulation is a debate, just like global warming--lots of agendas here from both sides muddying the waters. But let's go with the assumption that human overpopulation is a real problem: in order to solve it, all of humanity must cut down on spawning. You said, "[...] luckily virtually no Catholics believe that stuff". Luckily? I think most certainly not, because the Muslims haven't cut down on spawning, meaning that not only is the problem of human overpopulation not being solved, but also the Muslims are successfully waging their demographic jihad. And if that should succeed, leading to shariah law being installed in the lands where the non-Muslims didn't spawn enough, do you think the new social agenda would feature family planning? I don't think so.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 11:25:00 am  

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