A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Question of the Day???

In Germany, public denial of the Holocaust is illegal. Would you support a similar law in your country of residence? Why or why not?


John B said...

No, when the government takes away a person's right to be stupid, they are also taking away the right to be wise. If one type of speech become illegal, other types are not far behind.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

When the issue is one of national "fault", then it behooves those especially in that nation to be reminded that what transpired in the past could always occur again. It is a little like making sure that one's weakness is acknowledged so that that weakness won't become the "mistake" of the future.

Iran seems to want to ignore the reality of the Holocost for their own personal/national ends.

On the other hand, myth drives religion, so is the future of the world to be dissolved of the "myth" or Romantic tendencies in man? Is man then, to only engage these Romantic sentiments when he is young, and outgrow them when he becomes an adult?

Art in its many forms is "romantic". And I don't believe that the world should be dissolved of art forms.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

In fact, wasn't the first myth one of man being created as God's art form?

History is romanticized, as we create the "ideal" as a psychological mechanism of distinguishing ourselves in some way. National pride is symptomatic of identity.

But, whenever one's identity is empowered by nation state statue, then it can become deadly, using power to empower a humiliated sense of self...This is what some historian think created the political and emotional atmosphere that empowered Hitler.

"Hilter" became a Messianic image to the Germans.

Allan R. Bevere said...


In your first comment, your first paragraph was on subject, but then as usual, you turn the subject toward your own pet issues. As I said to you several months ago, I could post a recipe for chocolate cake, and you would find a way to make it be about what you want it to be about.

My question has nothing to do with myth or religion or most of anything else you mention. It was a simple question. Should public denial of the Holocaust be illegal, and why or why not?

And the idea that human beings will mature only when they throw off their religious views or make them irrelevant to public life (this is not the first time you have said this) is frankly insulting.

I suppose since you have obviously matured and are now so enlightened and live in "real reality" (whatever that means) the rest of just will have to continue to grope in the dark of our religious ignorance.

It's amazing that you put up with us.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

My point was that romaticism, or sentiment which all people have is met or understood in art forms. C.S. Lewis was a major adherent to this view, wasn't he? I wasn't dismissing religion, per se, just questioning what has become a question to me.

Going back to the law, if liberty of expression is allowed, as in public debate, freedom of the press, and the value of liberty of conscience, then that is what the political realm deals with and resolves in free societies with "laws". The question here is what is to resolve the idealization of history and/or fact? This is the debate in critical scholarship concerning religious traditions in general..

Angie Van De Merwe said...

But, I also wonder about law, and human rights, when these are subverted by religious tradition. That is also important to resolve, as our country was founded to protect religious freedom. But, when religious freedom dissolves the ability to rationally engage and becomes a danger to a society, then where does religious liberty end and the law begin?

Allan R. Bevere said...


The point is that my question has nothing to do with your comments... and your comments about religion, law, tradition, etc. are so over-generalized and the use of your terminology is so confusing, I have no idea where even to start in reference to a response.

I was hoping to generate a good discussion on freedom of speech and if there are limits and what are they, and instead you are trying to take us down several rabbit trails filled with animals that cannot even be named.

Sharp said...

As an American, the closest parallel I can think of is if certain groups among us wanted to pretend slavery never existed here. Should that be criminalized? I don't think so. Rebutted, discouraged, laughed at, and marginalized, yes. But not criminalized. Which historical events would rate this status? Should denial of My Lai be a punishable offense? Why not Wounded Knee or Kent State? Where does it stop? I sympathize with Germany's predicament. They want to prove to the world that Nazism will not be tolerated ever again. But it does seem to cross a line.

Eric Helms said...

Of Course the core of the question is whether or not freedom of speech is a good thing. From a Christian perspective the value of freedom of speech is completely wrapped up in the nature of that speech--if lies are protected then we have made space for false witnesses and will suffer the negative consequences of those false witnesses. On the other hand, if free speech is an all or nothing deal, then we may protect the expression of lies in order to protect the expression of truth from being forbidden.

The Supreme Court has placed certain limits on free speech (ie Child Pornography,etc.) On the other hand the bar for these limits is quite high--speech that is not protected must present a significant threat to society.

So the question ultimately is, "Does the denial of the holocaust present significant threat to society?" On the one hand, the answer is yes--rewriting history often leads to great violence. On the other hand, history is always subjective and enforcement of such a law would require a state approved history--the denial of which would be considered a crime. So if the United States decided to make the official history of the killing of Native Americans to be the justified defense of the nation against aggressive natives; it would become illegal to point to instances of genocide committed by early American settlers.

So... denying the holocaust should probably be illegal, but never can be because the result would be endanger the protection of truth-telling as well.

However, if Christians would be willing to break the law in order to tell the truth in a society that has the right to censor the telling of the truth, then perhaps we could do without the right of free speech; and be better off for it.

John B said...

I think Eric's right on when he said,

"if Christians would be willing to break the law in order to tell the truth in a society that has the right to censor the telling of the truth, then perhaps we could do without the right of free speech; and be better off for it."

Look at how the church is growing in places which try to censor the truth. If American Christians had only a small portion of Chinese Christians' boldness, we would change the nation.