Questions fuel the engines of progress. Doubt makes us human. Wherever doubt is restricted and replaced by certainty, freedom suffers because certainty tends to define doubt as dangerous for a secure society.
Religions are inherently extremist. They are testimonies of a belief in a single altruistic divinity and are usually tolerant as long as they are not in power. Religious fundamentalists believe their holy books were written by God himself. They alone are privy to God’s will. Such a belief is not moderate.
Certainty squashes any doubt or alternate interpretation. But, doubt leaves a door open to other interpretations. People are more open when they question!
Doubt can cause intense feelings. Humor is one way to endure doubt. Laughing is an eruption, an earthquake within the body. Laughter is the best medicine to take if one’s own convictions are shaken. Only domineering fundamentalists don’t allow for doubt; doubters are seen as heretics! That’s why fundamentalists rarely laugh and are afraid of jokes.
The development of Islam illustrates what can happen when a religion has secular power. The religion of Islam is not moderate, only Muslims can be moderate! In many Islamic countries, moderate Muslims are jailed, some are tortured, others face the death penalty. These people are persecuted merely because they are doubters who ask questions. They question a government which protects Islam, the Koran which is supposedly the Word of God, and a prophet who claims to speak for God. Instead, the doubters laugh at the Koran and draw cartoons mocking the prophet. Some even turn their backs on Islam. Such people are imprisoned, tortured, executed. Their crime is doubting.
Doubt is what makes us human and open to change. Doubt is not easy. Doubters need friends. Therefore, I support most anyone who doubts the Koran, mocks the Prophet and makes jokes about Islam. I see no hatred, but compassionate humanity.
I’m afraid of people who feel no doubt because I fear what they may do to me if I don’t share their certainty. In Germany, many Muslims are threatened if they question or criticize Islam. I generally fear religions which strive towards theocratic rule. That’s why I state clearly: Yes, I am Islamophobic in face of a theocracy such as propagated by the Islamic State!
After the terrorist attack against the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo, the German magazine Focus wrote:
„When he heard about the murder of the editors of the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, the Cologne actor and director Gerd Buurmann, 38, stated: ‘Someone ought to do something.’ We should grieve the murder of the disrespectful Parisian journalists, but also be angry with the Islamists who aimed to eradicate humor with a machine gun. Buurmann thought for a moment and then decided that he himself would have to do something. His reason: ‘Everyone has the right to be caricatured and we must defend that right.’“
I respect individuals, but not necessarily their ideologies, religions and beliefs. If anyone feels offended when I talk tough about the Koran, the Gospel, any manifesto, Marx, Mohammed, Abraham or Jesus, that person is free to feel offended and may even swear at me. What humanity remains if a person no longer questions?
I will never stop laughing, doubting, criticizing and making fun of ideas. No matter how much hatred is hurled at me. There are people like Hamed Abdel-Samad and Seyran Ateş who defend my freedom even with their lives.
Those who are offended when I joke about a religious faith are not differentiating between human beings and abstract beliefs. A person is, however, more than a mere abstraction!
When people are criticized on account of their origins, that is racism. But when a person is criticized for his or her beliefs, it’s called enlightenment. No one can change their background or origins, but they can change their convictions and beliefs! The opposite of origin is future! Each step a person takes is precluded by a decision.
Religions, ideologies and convictions may be criticized at any time! Ideologies and religions can’t laugh. Only people can!