How sensible of Slavoj Žižek. Better than sensible, even.
…only religion, it is said, can elevate us to a higher spiritual level. Today, when religion is emerging as the wellspring of murderous violence around the world, assurances that Christian or Muslim or Hindu fundamentalists are only abusing and perverting the noble spiritual messages of their creeds ring increasingly hollow. What about restoring the dignity of atheism, one of Europe’s greatest legacies and perhaps our only chance for peace?
Of course this is the cue for thousands of parrots and robots and zombies to come clattering and squawking and staggering up to intone ‘Stalin Hitler Mao Pol Pot’ at us – but atheism wasn’t the essence of Communism or Nazism the way Christianity is to Christianity or Hinduism is to Hinduism, so try something else for a change.
Dostoyevsky warned against the dangers of godless moral nihilism, arguing in essence that if God doesn’t exist, then everything is permitted…This argument couldn’t have been more wrong: the lesson of today’s terrorism is that if God exists, then everything, including blowing up thousands of innocent bystanders, is permitted.
There’s another in the eye for the robots.
[T]hose who displayed the greatest “understanding” for the violent Muslim protests those cartoons caused were also the ones who regularly expressed their concern for the fate of Christianity in Europe. These weird alliances confront Europe’s Muslims with a difficult choice: the only political force that does not reduce them to second-class citizens and allows them the space to express their religious identity are the “godless” atheist liberals…
And the best bit –
Respect for other’s beliefs as the highest value can mean only one of two things: either we treat the other in a patronizing way and avoid hurting him in order not to ruin his illusions, or we adopt the relativist stance of multiple “regimes of truth,” disqualifying as violent imposition any clear insistence on truth. What, however, about submitting Islam – together with all other religions – to a respectful, but for that reason no less ruthless, critical analysis? This, and only this, is the way to show a true respect for Muslims: to treat them as serious adults responsible for their beliefs.
That’s downright quotable. And it’s exactly why I’ve been sneering so heavily at all the nonsense talked about ‘respect for others’ beliefs’ throughout this cartoon thing (and a lot longer than that, but it all got ratcheted up with the cartoon thing). Nobody with any sense should want either to be patronized or to be truth-relativized. Think about it, believers.