I originally wrote about it here.
And here’s Fox’s John Kasich interviewing Brian Flemming, one of the organizers of The Blasphemy Challenge, as well as producer of the DVD they’re giving away. There’s other media coverage too. The Nightline piece is pretty comprehensive and includes all the standard relativist objections. The local Roanoke, VA coverage is really shrill and funny.
Regarding the Kasich piece, I get that a lot, too. "Why are you so angry?" Gee, I dunno. Should I be? Should I be angry that the first 20 years of my life were deeply influenced by falsehood, and that it takes years of effort to overcome and "reprogram" some of the automatic values responses (emotions) that are instilled at such a young age? Should I, or anyone else, be angry about growing up under the implicit threat of eternal damnation, torture, and torment — and not only for one’s self, but for other loved ones, like one’s cherished grandparents? How about being told, from an age when one only just begins to ask deeper questions, like, "am I going to heaven?" that, indeed, having already told four lies is too much. Too bad. You’re only six. Game over.
Well, I certainly don’t hold anyone personally responsible. I understand that they were duped as children to believe in falsehoods, and that they’re just passing along the tradition.
But I just don’t get this notion that when one finally frees themselves from such unhealthy influences, they ought not be angry, indeed, that they don’t have a moral right on some level to a bit of outrage over it. Yea, it was "done out of love," and all that. Perhaps, or, perhaps out of silly but understandable carrying on of traditions without a whole lot of thought or fact checking.
I mean, think about it. Have we not advanced just a little bit beyond that notion that "virtue" can be compelled by threats of violence, which is what eternal damnation is? Of what standing is "virtue" motivated by fear over losing one’s very soul, versus a virtue that comes from pursuing one’s deepest and highest values out of love? This kind of religion — which is particularly Western in character — ought to be rejected on the basis of this sort of primitive behavior alone, before even reaching to the litany of implausible and unverifiable factual claims.
You can choose to view this — those teenage blasphemy videos — as nothing more than a display of anger; lashing out; a teenage temper tantrum. That’s fine. I see that, too, and I understand that those kids, over time, will reconcile that anger and get on with things, learn how to live in peace, and even in love, with others who believe in silly things. But what I see most of all is liberation. These are people liberating themselves; freeing themselves from unearned guilt and everything implicit in it.
Give it a try. If you’re one of those who believes in literal hell and eternal torment, look up, raise your middle finger to the sky, and curse God in the pejorative manner of your preference. And if you have really, really believed in that stuff? The first few times you do this? Intoxicating. For the first time in your life, you’ll be completely free.
And what will you be free to do? You’ll finally be free to practice virtue from your heart rather than fear.