- On Causing (and Taking) Offence
At our meeting we will be discussing the question of exercising one’s right to freedom of expression, and especially in relation to religious ideas and beliefs. Should there be any limits, for example, on questioning what it says in holy books, or mocking Creationists' views on the age of the universe, or the idea of Heaven and Hell, or that there's a Supreme Being that watches your everything move? There is no right not to be offended, at least in the UK. But in open societies, causing offence to others is hardly good for social cohesion. Recall the reaction to the Danish cartoons, Jerry Springer the Opera, and the Jesus & Mo cartoons… Muslims believe it is fundamentally wrong to present an image of the prophet Mohammed, and some think those that do should be put to death. Indeed, blasphemy is a capital offence in more than a dozen countries. But hold on, if we really think something is daft or worse, shouldn’t we say so? These are some of the questions we will be discussing, with the help of a selection of stories, images and cartoons taken off the internet, and we will be trying to get a handle on what is acceptable to post on social media, and what is not. Lots to discuss and consider...