The Joy Of Blasphemy

Simon Price explains why he “blaspheme[s] freely, with relish and glee”:

Objections to my fondness for blasphemy usually fall into three categories. First is the accusation of hypocrisy. “If you’re an atheist,” comes the question, “why do you even use those words?” My answer is that I was reared in an Anglican culture, which instilled in me uncountable hang-ups, false hopes and arbitrary feelings of guilt. Blaspheming, for anyone who had their young mind mangled by religion, is not merely a right – it’s a solemn duty.

The second, especially in these post-Fatwa, post-Danish-cartoon times, is the insinuation of cowardice. Why, I’m asked, do I not speak profanities pertaining to other religions? Firstly because it would sound desperately put on and contrived, like Basil Fawlty muttering, “Oh, Buddha”. Secondly, Christianity programmed me with its “language”, a rich set of cultural references in which I’m fluent. We all speak, for example, of the “road to Damascus moment”, or predict that “so-and-so will get crucified”. These phrases belong to the unbeliever as much as the believer. …

The third is the charge of impoliteness. I’m told I must always consider the sensitivities of the faithful, who shudder at sacrilegious speech. I disagree. Those who were indoctrinated alongside me, but bought into it for life, have made their choice about what to do with all that baggage. And I’ve made mine.