Expressions of Religiosity and Blasphemy in Modern Societies

Expressions of Religiosity and Blasphemy in Modern Societies 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 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Journal of Social Science Brill

Expressions of Religiosity and Blasphemy in Modern Societies

Asian Journal of Social Science, Volume 35 (1): 111 – Jan 1, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2007 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1568-4849
eISSN
1568-5314
D.O.I.
10.1163/156853107X170187
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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

Journal

Asian Journal of Social ScienceBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2007

Keywords: BLASPHEMOUS ATTITUDES; THE SACRED; KUFIR; RELIGIOUS BELIEFS; BLASPHEMY

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