'All for ourselves and nothing for other people' seems in every age of the world to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. -Adam Smith "All the 'truth' in the world adds up to one big lie." Bob Dylan "Idealism precedes experience, cynicism follows it." Anon

September 6, 2011

Violating the Sanctity of Scriptures

Chain The Dogma 

Violating the Sanctity of Scriptures

by Perry Bulwer

The Second Global Conference on World’s Religions After Sept. 11 is taking place tomorrow in Montreal. The organizer, Arvind Sharma, a professor of comparative religion at McGill University, says the purpose of the conference  "... is to bring together the various religions of the world in an ecumenical spirit to address the many issues facing the world today, in the hope that this will help all of us become better human beings." According to the Montreal Gazette, Sharma

... says the goal is to debate how religions can contribute to peace in the world. He is also hoping to have the participants adopt three resolutions, including one which says that violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion amounts to violating the sanctity of all religions.

The conference speakers are hardly representative of all religions in the world,  but even if they were it is highly unlikely this particular group of god frauds can make any useful contributions to world peace and the betterment of humans based on religion. The Gazette article cited above includes a photo of the Dalai Lama, one of the speakers, praying for and blessing a river in Washington. Just what we need to make us better humans and achieve world peace: a religious leader who believes he is the reincarnation of his predecessor, whose worldview has been totally formed within the framework of a spiritual fantasy world, who prays for and blesses rivers.

Another spiritual con artist  speaking at the conference is Deepak Chopra. Here are a few of the extraordinary, supernatural claims he makes without backing them up with extraordinary evidence:

That a person is a field of vibrating energy, information and intelligence connected to the entire cosmos.

That this view is substantiated by Ayruvedic medicine of ancient India as well as theories of quantum physics.

That all organs of the body are built up from a specific sequence of vibrations, and that when organs are sick they are vibrating improperly.

That certain herbs and aromas, when applied, can help restore proper vibrations to malfunctioning liver, heart, stomach, etc.

That certain gems and crystals can rejuvenate human skin.

That good thoughts can heal the body and reverse the aging process.

That people can levitate and that he, while sitting and meditating, has flown a distance of four feet.

That one can know God at seven different levels corresponding to physical and psychological reactions in the brain, and that miracles, including visits by angels and reincarnated relatives, occur when a person leaves the material level of existence and intersects a "transitional" level called the "quantum domain."

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the conference speakers really can have meaningful discussions that further world peace, all of their efforts will be completely undermined and wasted if they adopt the resolution proposed by Sharma, which proposes to prohibit blasphemy.  That seems to be what he means by "violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion". Whatever Sharma means by that, it is simply ridiculous for him to claim that it amounts to violating all religions. Obviously, not all religions can be true because many contradict each other, which means at least some are false, though I think they all are. Given that fact, it is necessary for some people to question, doubt and criticize religious scriptures as they search for religious truth. That is a futile search, in my opinion, but for those inclined to search the freedom to question and criticize is necessary. However, there will always be believers who are offended by such criticisms of their scriptures, so Sharma's solution appears to be to deny everyone the right to criticize all religious scriptures, even the most blatantly fraudulent and fictional ones such as the Bible, the Book of Mormon or the writings of Scientology founder, Ron Hubbard.

On the conference website, Sharma's message invites attendees "to explore the more positive possibilities of the religious dimension". Apparently, he wants to ignore the negative possibilities of the religious dimension, and so his resolution to prohibit free speech as it relates to religious scriptures. But any debate or discussion on the possibilities of religion fostering world peace is a meaningless, one-sided conversation if it does not allow or acknowledge any criticism of the doctrines found in the scriptures of various religions that foster bigotry and war.


  1. Banning of Phones4U ‘miraculous Jesus’ ad a chilling ruling for free speech

    British Humanist Association Press Release


    In an adjudication published today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against Phones4U over an advertisement depicting a cartoon version of the Buddy Christ from the comedy film Dogma, along with the tagline ‘Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones.’ The British Humanist Association (BHA) has called the ruling ‘completely ridiculous’, and argued that the ASA is ‘chilling the free mockery of beliefs which is vital in a free society’.

    In its adjudication, the ASA found that ‘although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous… [they] gave the impression that they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs. We agreed that the ads were disrespectful to the Christian faith and were likely to cause serious offence, particularly to Christians. The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).’

    The ruling is reminiscent of the prevention of the BHA’s adverts for its Census Campaign which the Committee on Advertising Practice (the ASA’s sister organisation) recommended in March, if taken to adjudication, were likely to be banned. This recommendation prevented the adverts from even being published in the first place.

    BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘This completely ridiculous ruling represents a further encroachment on free speech in our society, tantamount to a reintroduction of blasphemy laws by the back door. The ASA have shown themselves to be absurdly hypersensitive to the possibility of religious offence and are chilling the free mockery of all beliefs which is vital in a free society. They seriously need to review their line on cases of this sort. It is an embarrassment in an open society to have this sort of regulation.’

    For further comment or information, please contact Andrew Copson on 07534 248596.

    Read the ASA Adjudication on Phones 4 U Ltd, 7 September 2011 at: http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2011/9/Phones-4-U-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_156539.aspx

    Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on free speech at: http://www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns/free-speech

    and the banned Census Campaign advertisements at:

  2. Dalai Lama questions whether tradition of leadership reincarnation should continue


    NEW DELHI -- Tibet's exiled spiritual head the Dalai Lama on Saturday questioned whether the tradition of leadership reincarnation should be continued, saying he and other leaders of Tibetan Buddhism will take a call on the issue in about 15 years, a statement on his official website said.

    "When I am about ninety I will consult the high lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not," the Dalai Lama wrote in the statement.

    Traditionally, high lamas, Buddhist priests, can take years to identify a child deemed to be a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, a search usually limited to Tibet, now part of China which regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

    Tibetans fear that China will use the thorny issue of the Dalai Lama's religious succession to split the movement, with one new Lama named by exiles and one by China after his death.

    The current Dalai Lama, 75, has stated previously that he will not be reborn in the People's Republic of China if Tibet is not free and that no one, including China, has the right to choose his successor "for political ends."

    The Dalai Lama relinquished his political role in April and Tibetan exiles elected a Harvard law scholar as their political leader, who is likely to bring in a more radical government-in-exile to challenge China.