I have thought about this quite a lot. In the UK last year (or the year before) there was a theatre play in that was closed due to a particular group of people being offended by the content and demonstrating outside the theatre where it was being staged in order to get the play closed down. They succeeded. There was strong protest that this closure was evidence of pressures exerted by one group curtailing artistic freedom of expression of another.
The reason for my pondering this is that I have recently written a song which again reflects my strong atheistic views. This is just a song like any other and has no propogandist agenda attached. Nevertheless, the song can / will / does offend a few people.
Taking into account that there is a difference between expressing something that is intended to offend and expressing something that offends as an incidental by-product of that expression (but without the purpose of doing so), I have concluded that the feeling of being offended, in the latter case, is the problem of the person offended. I have further decided that I have no duty to consider this (potential offence caused) when I write, record, publish, or perform.
So I sing my song with gusto.
I have a song which is quite new called The Outfidel which I played at a session at folk club on Friday night. It displays my atheism and may be offensive to some religious individuals who are sensitive that way. I suppose that my singing of it will alienate some people to my music in general, by association. I guess, too, that my publishing of this here will turn some people away. Ho-hum. I’m too long in tooth now to concern myself about such prejudices.
But what of gods and the supernatural? I simply can’t believe it. I have no grounds to believe it. And the idea is even absurd to me now. It would be the height of dishonesty if I were to profess even to having an open mind about the matter! And surely any God would not be welcoming of such hypocrisy! Anyway, it seems to me, if I look at a map of the world, that the belief set of an individual is a function of where she was born, raised, and “educated”, and little else.
Occasionally when I hear of the promise of immortality in return for faith it feels It’s like one of those letters that drops in the mailbox that tells you that you are a lucky jackpot winner (one of a “select” few?) and all you have to do to collect is call the number below. You would like to believe it’s not a fake, but you know it’s a ruse.
I could hardly care less what adults will choose to believe so long as they leave others in peace. But the indoctrination of young children is entirely another matter. To my mind it’s abuse and the results can be intellectually and emotionally crippling for the children so treated. I hope the sponsors of faith schools the world over will one day be recognised by historians for the damage they have done.
The Outfidel is in my mind to record shortly [Edit: done – hence the links].