[extropy-chat] Islamic morons win yet again

Brandon Reinhart transcend at extropica.com
Fri Sep 29 04:37:24 UTC 2006

 "The leading opera house in Germany just canceled the Mozart opera
"Idomeneo", they did this because they feared religious pinheads would
literally disembowel them if they put it on. In this 1781 opera the king of
Crete, Idomeneo, carries the heads of Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha and Poseidon
on to the stage, placing each on a stool,  the king of Crete then sings "The
gods are dead!" Sounds like a good start to me.


There was no major difficulty cutting off the heads of Poseidon, Buddha or
even Jesus; but Muhammad was another matter."

This is probably an exaggerated reaction on the part of the opera house
after the Danish Mohammad cartoons incident. In that situation extremists
manipulated foreign reaction with false material (including cartoons that
weren't part of what was originally published) to drum up anti-Western and
anti-Danish sentiment. The resulting rioting led to a few deaths. I could
see something similar happening with this opera or any number of other like
things. Just imagine the extremist Imam, telling his flock that the Germans
have shown an opera where an actor marches about with the severed head of
the prophet! (Carefully not mentioning the fact that the dismember bits of
other religions' leaders are also on display.)

But for that scenario to play out, there has to be someone there intending
to use the opera's presence as a political/ideological weapon. (There was in
the case of the cartoons.) The more businesses stand up to that kind of
manipulation, the less effective it will be. If we're afraid that foreign
cultures will riot over an expression of our own culture (a literary one at
that!) we're playing exactly into the hands of the extremists.

> You're wrong, change your thinking to my view" is rarely an effective way
to influence someone. 

Challenging someone's beliefs whether directly or with subtlety can be a
very effective way to influence someone. Even insulting someone's beliefs
can be effective. (The UK punk movement was based on that!) That being said,
I read John K Clark's comment as a "this is fucked up!" kind of frustration
thing, not an insult to the religious believers on this list.

*      I would suggest that if you really wanted to disinfect a particular
strain of religious belief that you would have to understand the behavior of
the meme in much the same way the biological viral activity is studied
before it can be effectively countered with drugs.

I would think that trying to cure religion with some engineering-like method
(drugs, surgery, bullet in the head) would be morally dangerous (whether
voluntary or not). You'd just end up with a variation on a thought-control
society. Maybe one intending to be benevolent, but you're still
belief-redacting. I'd argue that trying to change someone's belief through
horribly offensive insults is more moral than providing them with a truth
pill. Although, with the bullet in the head approach I guess you don't need
to know so much about how the meme, or the biology of belief works, which is
a plus.

Maybe the best way to address the problem of conflicting beliefs and their
effects on society is good old fashioned rational debate.


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