A school teacher at High Desert School in Acton, California gave his 7th grade history class a worksheet, Vocabulary Pictures: The Rise of Islam. The worksheet contained words related to Islam with a space below the words for the students to draw pictures of what the word referred to. One of the words was the name of the founder of Islam, Mohammed. A parent of one of the children complained that the worksheet was insensitive to the Islamic belief that people should not make images of Mohammed. This caused the school to ban the drawing of Mohammed or of any religious leader.
Berj Boyajian is a professor of Comparative Islamic Law at the University of Southern California. Professor Boyajian points out that Mohammed outlawed the drawing not only of himself and other self-proclaimed religious “prophets,” but also of any human being. Does this mean that if Islamic clergymen decide we should no longer make paintings or statues of people in order to follow more closely Mohamed’s command, that we then need to be sensitive to their foolish religious superstitions and remove all images of people from textbooks, magazines, the Internet, etc., etc., etc.??
Good people have been murdered by Muslims for daring to violate their Islamic prohibition against making images of Mohammed. These religious attacks and killings have brought about self-censorship in nations that have freedom of speech in their constitutions and laws. For example, in the US the cartoon South Park was censored and not allowed to depict Mohammed either visually or audibly in one of its episodes. This self-censoring, which is caused by fear of religious violence, makes the First Amendment right of free speech null and void.
It is true that not all Muslims want to murder people who draw images of Mohammed or who reject Islam. However, these people enable the fundamentalist Muslims who do believe in murdering people for violating their religious rules and laws. They enable them by refusing to openly reject the horrific commands in Islam. This holds true with all of the “revealed”/hearsay religions. For example, non-fundamentalist Muslims should openly speak out against Surah 4:34 which teaches Muslim men to beat women who they fear may become rebellious towards them. And non-fundamentalist Jews should speak out against the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament claims that God gave the Jews a gift of real estate which is causing so much religious violence today in the “holy” land. Teachings such as are found at Leviticus 20:24 in which the Hebrew/Jewish Bible writers put these words in God’s mouth: “But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.” And non-fundamentalist Christians should openly reject such Bible teachings as Jesus condemning Jews who refused to obey the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament command for parents to kill their children if their children curse their parents found at Matthew 15:1-6. The Deist Hans de Veen wrote a powerful, thought provoking article, Obedience Beyond Humanity, which addresses the importance of non-fundamentalist “revealed” religionists addressing these issues. Hans was a Karaite fundamentalist (they’re a movement in Judaism which embraces the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament but rejects the Talmud) prior to becoming a Deist.
Deism has the potential to end the religious based censorship and religious violence the world is currently suffering from. More than any other worldview, Deism has the very real potential to bring us out of this anti-progress religious nightmare. This is because Deism can connect with religious peoples’ belief in God while simultaneously freeing them of the man-made religious dogmas which are falsely presented by the clergy as being of divine origin. You can give Deism the chance of reaching its full, beautiful and liberating potential by doing all you can to educate people about Deism. What a great and important privilege this is for all Deists!
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