“The controversy surrounding ‘Lady of heaven’ reminds us to defend the right to blasphemy”

The British film Lady of Heaven(“La Dame du Paradis”), was released in cinemas in the UK on Friday 3 June. A series of Islamist protests got the film suspended. Some of the reactions saw it as a triumph of religious fundamentalism, others pointed out that the film had been directed by a Shiite fundamentalist priest. The second point is true, but does not annul the first and shows, on the contrary, that the current logic of returning to blasphemy, perceived as an offense to be banned, punishes believers.

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Many comparisons have pointed to the film Christ’s last temptation. One might also wonder why a 30-year-old example was so important to dig out when there are examples closer to us. Recent cases of works that are perceived as blasphemous, however, have been works with an atheistic or agnostic view of God. This time we have a work whose trailer clearly testifies to an apologetic discourse – part of the theology based on historical and rational arguments – Shia that exalts the great figures of Shiism (Ali and Fatima) and degrades them from Sunniism (Aicha and Abu Bakr). ).

Such a work is obviously perceived as blasphemous by Sunnis because it degrades historical-religious persons to whom they are attached. And we can clearly see why the logic of blasphemy, which is perceived as an offense to be suppressed, is a threat to believers. In fact, developing an apologetic argument in favor of one’s belief necessarily implies a discourse that explains that the other religions err on the point of divergence.

Let’s take a little detour. A Catholic believes that there is only one God in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each of the three persons is all God, and each of the three persons exists only in union with the other two in a perfect love relationship. Finally, for him, Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the Son of God. Hence the view that any religion that affirms opposing beliefs is false on the points where it deviates from its own.

By confirming this, the Catholics blaspheme in the eyes of the followers of these religions and by confirming the followers of their faith, they mock in his eyes. Let us take two dramatic and recent examples which confirm this demonstration. In Pakistan, a young Christian woman was burned alive for “blasphemy”. Her crime: To say on a WhatsApp group that Jesus Christ had helped her pass her exams. Still in the same country, a Christian woman could be sentenced to death for reacting to insults about her religion and threats against her person: “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammad do to save humanity. And why should I convert, and it should not be up to you to convert?”

So definitely, the burning apologetics as the film Lady of Heaven is not the same as simply confirming his faith. But both can be perceived as “blasphemous”. of believers of another religion, and the logic of perceiving them as such is the same. The examples I have highlighted show that people can die in the world because their mere claim that they share the faith of Jesus Christ is seen as “blasphemous” and not so outrageous internationally.

The logic behind blasphemy, which is perceived as a crime to be banned, leaves believers with only two solutions: The first is to ensure that one’s faith will be dominant and that it will be the other religions whose expression can be defined as ” blasphemous “conditioned. The second is to fight so that blasphemy is not seen as an offense to be banned. That does not mean that swear words in my eyes do not hurt believers when used as an insult (which most of the time does not include apologetics or proselytizing).

But this means that we can consider that blasphemy as an insult is a wound, that we can refrain from doing so, but that we must be for the legal and social right to blasphemy, also in an insulting way. For otherwise, the only option would be to fight for his religion to be in a dominant position that can at any time define others as blasphemy. For my part, since I am a Catholic, I would prefer not to be forced into this possibility.

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