I (as we all do) have opinions on everything in life, from political issues to my favourite football team. I welcome criticism because it challenges what I think and either strengthens my viewpoint or (in rare cases) changes my opinion. My perspective is important to others when it comes time to vote because the outcome of elections impact on people’s lives, but other than that my opinions can have no negative effect on other people whatsoever.
I refer to the following taken from here
“what kind of ideology gets it kicks out of gratuitously offending the sincerely held views of others? It seems both immature and vulgar.”
Racism, sexism, slavery, homophobia and all forms of discrimination resulted from ‘sincerely held views of others’. History has shown that these viewpoints have been successfully challenged and are now considered deplorable by all but an insignificant minority.
Anything that prohibits free speech is dangerous because it not only prevents controversial ideas being put into the public domain but it ultimately prevents the criticism of these beliefs. If the religious are offended by criticism then they should think about why they are offended. If they are certain that what they believe is true then their viewpoint should be able to stand up to the opposing viewpoint of others.
Our recent history is enough to demonstrate that the extreme views of religious people are a danger to everyone in society, from the evil acts of suicide bombers to the mental manipulation of children. Any government that considers outlawing the ability for the secular majority to criticise the irrational and archaic ideologies of the religious will be endangering their electorate. We must be able to have our say on issues that effect us, otherwise we will end up in a situation where the irrational belief has a detrimental impact on all of our lives.