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Why God Laughs and Weeps

1 December 2007

What to say about this Muhammad teddy bear story? Not that the history of Christianity doesn’t reel with such bloody ignominies as the Inquisition, Salem witch trials, and Ku Klux Klan lynchings. And the modern-day Christian Right has had more than a few problems with over-reaction, but rarely (abortionists aside) are there calls for someone’s actual execution.

I suspect the god of any religion can survive cartoons. (Thor has his own comic book, and thunder doesn’t seem in danger of disappearing.) I wouldn’t name my stuffed animals Moses or Jesus, but those who do are more likely to choose such names in tribute than as a scheme to undermine an entire religion.

Other conspiracy theorists are amateurs compared to these anti-Western prophet protectors. Look, I’m not trying to be the target of a fatwa, but if there’s one thing I am intolerant of, it’s intolerance. Being stubborn does not make one correct any more than screaming one’s beliefs makes them credible—and that goes for Christian zealots, Muslim hard-liners, Quebec Separatists, and sports team fanatics.

Absolutes in the dogma of any person, group, sect or movement; the rejection of compromise even as an idea; defending myopia as morality, bigotry as faith and bloodlust as righteousness—nothing so surely attests to our flawed and inadequate evolution as rational beings.

Fundamentalism. Pfui.

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