The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

48° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

Letter to the Editor: Blasphemy Day

Dear Editor,

In the Monday, October 12 edition of The Statesman, the article ‘Controversial Flyers Posted Around Campus’ addressed the issue of hateful flyers found in campus buildings on Blasphemy Day, a movement intended to ‘open up all religious beliefs to the same level of free inquiry, discussion and criticism to which all other areas of academic interest are subjected,’ according to the official website www.blasphemyday.com. What this movement really does is needlessly mock world religions, and the fact that these flyers were present on a diverse college campus such as ours is despicable and inexcusable.

To begin, I would like to bluntly state that Blasphemy Day is stupid. The message contradicts itself ‘- on the website, a post entitled ‘The Importance of Blasphemy’ notes, ‘It is your responsibility as a logical person to shed light on the darkness of ignorance wherever it may be.’ It goes on to say ‘The only real blasphemy is ignorance.’ If someone can explain to me what is not ignorant about a day devoted to purposelessly offending people based on what they believe, I’d love to hear the explanation.

Does religion ‘deserve it’? Maybe in some ways. Some beliefs may seem a bit far-fetched, if not just silly, and dogma can sometimes be dangerous. Historically, it has led to prejudice, oppression, and war. Yet, religion serves an important psychological and sociological function. If it didn’t, it would not still be a factor of civilization that persists throughout millennia. Consider the benefits of religion: those who follow one tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, a greater sense of immediate and global community, increased mental health, an outlet for creativity and service, and the strength to conquer adversity. What is the reason for trying to put down people who feel these benefits simply because you disagree with the religious principles?

It is true that religious texts have the potential to be interpreted in several different ways, some of which are just downright scary. However, I feel that the concept of free thinking is also subject to interpretation, and the subsequent actions can be equally as horrifying. I believe that is what has happened with the creation of Blasphemy Day and with flyers such as the ones described in the article.

Religion certainly is not ‘immune to criticism’. It never has been, nor should it be. But it is important to note that there is a difference between criticism and insult. Furthermore, there is a difference between thinking freely and simply acting with animosity just because you disagree with religious principles. The notion of thinking freely should involve some actual thinking ‘- perhaps some research, some open-mindedness, and some questioning. Religious criticism should ideally be done in intelligent discourse between people of differing views, not by cowardly plastering hateful flyers around a generally peaceful, diverse college campus.

Religion is not going away any time soon, and the basic principles of each religion are not going to change. So, instead of expending energy being malicious, why not try reading a book once in a while or listening to someone with beliefs that vary from your own, and developing some notion of respect? Refusing to respect our fellow human being does not make society free. It binds us to ignorance and unnecessary conflict and inhibits social change. Think about that.

Sincerely,
Lindsay Woodruff

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Statesman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Statesman

Comments (0)

All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *