And then there’s Faisal Bodi.

Nobody likes a turncoat. Whether it’s a scab crossing a picket line, or a footballer joining his club’s arch rivals, the consequences of defection will usually haunt them for life. It’s a cross that Abdul Rahman, the Afghan convert to Christianity, is currently having to bear. Charged with apostasy for abandoning Islam, a crime that carries the death penalty in Afghanistan, he was handed a reprieve at the weekend while judges examine the validity of the case against him.

That’s an interesting way to put it – ‘nobody likes a turncoat.’ That is in fact a very tendentious way of putting it. It’s also not true even in Bodi’s terms, since at least some of the people in the group the ‘turncoat’ joins will like the turncoat, because they won’t think of the ‘turncoat’ as a turncoat but as someone who has seen the light or become sane at last or developed good taste or come along to help or found a conscience. But never mind about in Bodi’s terms, because those terms are stupid and bullying. Ideas are not the same kind of thing as, for instance, having or adopting children, where one has taken on responsibilities that one cannot abandon without harming people. Ideas aren’t dependent or needy, ideas don’t feel abandoned or forlorn, ideas don’t grow up to be depressed or fearful; ideas don’t require our blind unthinking unchanging allegiance, and it’s a terrible way of thinking to pretend they do: it’s a loathsome form of mental imprisonment and extortion. Changing religions is not the same kind of thing as crossing a picket line, and it’s intellectual bullying to pretend it is.

At 8:54 this morning Bodi commented on the comments.

As far as the ban on proselytism in Muslim states goes, it is an understandable response from people who cherish the religious basis of their societies to protect them, and its weaker and more vulnerable members, from the damage that an inferior worldview can wreak. May I suggest that a lack of similar conviction in Christianity is what led to liberal secularism coming to hold sway over western European societies.

Sure you may. You bet. It lets us all know what you have in mind, which is useful.

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