The Index on Censorship explores religion’s worldwide rebirth in public life:
Since the Enlightenment, the seemingly relentless march of secular modernism had squeezed religion out of public life and left it, if not dead, then hidden in the private realm. It did not seem too fantastical then to argue, as Nietzsche was doing, that God had ceased to be a reckoning force in the lives of most people.
Two centuries on, and it seems that rumours of the death of God were exaggerated. The recent furores over the broadcasting of Jerry Springer: the Opera and the cancellation of the play Behzti suggest that God, or more accurately religious belief, has made an unexpected return into the public sphere. This is not an exclusively British phenomenon as the murder last year of a Dutch film-maker for producing a film that was considered offensive to Islam vividly demonstrated.
Just as the re-emergence of religion has been pan-national there is a similarly global challenge to the Enlightenment values of rationalism, tolerance and freedom of expression. To try to explore possible strategies for responding to this challenge it is important to explore the origins and characteristics of this new religious revivalism.
Sarfaz Manzoor’s exploration is fascinating stuff: Thou Shalt Not Offend.
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