Dissenting religion

Official: Pakistani Christian woman falsely accused of blasphemy – CNN.com

Asia Bibi, who has been jailed for nearly 15 months, was convicted in a Pakistani court earlier this month of breaking the country’s controversial blasphemy law, a crime punishable with death or life imprisonment, according to Pakistan’s penal code. She was sentenced to death.

Would this happen in a majority Christian country? Not likely. However, that isn’t because Christians are intrinsically more tolerant. It’s because most majority Christian societies no longer consider blasphemy to be a threat to state power.

The modern notion of a Christian nation is of a secular government that is supported by Christians because it is perceived to be just, rather than because it is explicitly Christian. On the other hand, many Christians would suggest that they are required to support a secular government whether it is just or not, because it represents God’s established order. Moreover, in the US, a significant number of Christians support “the Constitution” (and by extension, any orderly government based on it) without necessarily supporting a particular administration or legislature. Only a few Christians will only support a Christian theocracy.

Moslems do not seem to have a popular concept of a secular government that they can support on its merits, rather than merely out of fear or greed. I think it is because their religion is too closely tied to specific laws and rulers, just as the ancient Hebrew religion was. I could not support a form of Christianity that resembled that, and if I were forced to live in such a country, I would renounce any religious observance; therefore, I renounce any Christian who considers such a thing to be necessary. I know that for some Roman Catholics and Protestants that makes me too liberal, or even “atheist”; 400 years ago it was still punishable by death to renounce the state religion in a European country. I say: since I do not worship the state or any earthly ruler, then I am not obligated to respect their definition of true religion.

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