Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rowan Williams: Blasphemy can provoke violence – and be a progressive force within religion

From New Statesman-

For most of human history – and for rather a lot of the world today – blasphemy is the cardinal case of saying the unsayable. What could be more transgressive than mocking or abusing the all-powerful creator of the universe? But what is interesting in the history of religions is that this isn’t always about attacking or rejecting faith itself.

One regular and significant theme in legends, religious texts and historical anecdotes is that “blasphemous” language, ­language attacking, condemning or mocking God, can be forced out of people who are so ravaged and humiliated by their ­suffering that they turn on God in fury. Ajax in classical myth, Job in biblical narrative – these are figures who say, in effect, “I haven’t deserved this and I didn’t expect this. What claim can God have to be called good or just? And if my sufferings are ­supposed to remind me that life is mysterious and God is stronger than I am and so I ought to submit humbly, I can always refuse to accept these terms. I won’t be threatened into silence. How much worse can it get, anyway? At least I can die with my self-respect intact.”

More here-

No comments: