Expressions of Religiosity and Blasphemy in Modern Societies Riaz Hassan Department of Sociolog y, Flinders University Abstract In Abrahamic religions blasphemy exists to prevent challenge to the notions of the sacred. Its exis- tence is a litmus test of the standards a society feels it must enforce to preserve its religious beliefs and morality in order to prevent mockery of the Divine. Its commission has invariably evoked severe punishment. Th is paper examines the debates around these issues in Christianity and Islam. It examines the struggle against blasphemy laws in Christian and Muslim countries. It concludes by arguing that modernity plays a significant role in shaping attitudes towards blasphemy in modern societies. Using empirical evidence it explores the relationship between modernity, religiosity and blasphemy in seven contemporary Muslim countries. Keywords Blasphemy, religious beliefs, ‘Kufi r’, the sacred, blasphemous attitudes. Until recently a widely held view in sociolog y was that the conditions of moder- nity inevitably lead to the secularization of society. It was further argued that in a secular society, religion becomes increasingly a private concern of the individ- ual and thus loses much of its public relevance and influence. Th e conditions of modernity were seen
Asian Journal of Social Science – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
Keywords: BLASPHEMOUS ATTITUDES; THE SACRED; KUFIR; RELIGIOUS BELIEFS; BLASPHEMY
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