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What's Wrong With Blasphemy? -

Stashed in: Words!, Religion, Hurt, Morals

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What I have tried to argue is that none of these common arguments alone gives us sufficient reason to refrain from blasphemous speech, merely because it is blasphemous, the way that I do feel I have more than sufficient reason to never use (and to try to never think) the n-word. But that doesn’t mean that none of the above were reasons not to violate what others hold sacred. They were reasons, just ones that might be outweighed by the value of the things I want to say.

So are we left with some crude felicific arithmetic: (amount of emotional pain) – (value of blasphemous speech uttered) = net morality of this or that utterance? I think there is something more to be said here.

We all too often speak about the harms of speech either in abstract terms (the speech is wrong) or in attribute-sensitive terms (one should not be mocked for this). But what is missing here is the sense of relational duties that so many of us feel. The view that one just says whatever one wishes regardless of the company one is keeping is not virtuous honesty or moral heroism, but a kind of moral autism. The content of speech is just one element of its morality; the recipient is another.

It's not just what you say; it's who you say it to, and with what intention.

and how it is understood

That's true; understanding is the responsibility of the speaker.

yep. thank you all the sexual harassment classes, Army.

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