In early 2015 the offices of a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, were bombed by religious fanatics, their main excuse that the magazine had published pictures of Muhammad.
There was universal criticism of the atrocity in which 16 people died, "Je suis Charlie" t-shirts and badges proliferated , world leaders gathered in Paris to indicate their abhorrence at the act and the media, at least in the west had a field day, professing their indignation.
What does this reaction tell us about our society. Are we enlightened, resilient, are we 'good'?
No. We are cowardly, duplicitous, unthinking, frightened, unimaginative, stupid, self centred hypocrites. The 'terrorists' win, they win every time and they win because of our human nature.
An image search on google for "Muhammad" yields no images of Muhammad On the BBC's page regarding the issue of Charlie Hebdo with Muhammad on the front cover there was everything bar the image itself. How many of you have posted an image of Muhammad on your social media? Comedy Central caved in over a South Park episode showing Muhammad, Facebook have removed the "Draw Muhammed" page. You, we, have all completely pussied out.
Why? Perhaps because we are scared. What can you do? Stop giving irrational beliefs some kind of precedence. If someone says "CUNT", say "That might be an invalid argument" Not "I'm not prepared to continue this dialogue" (even though the person who said cunt is generally correct and informative whilst the cunt is just a metaphoric cunt!).
People who kill over images of the Prophet Muhammad have the same moral compass as a person who mutters "Tsk tsk" when they over hear someone blaspheme "Jesus Christ". Yes, the scale is different, and if we were arguing economics the former would be the far greater cost, but the actions described are excused on religious grounds, not fiscal ones. One is the same as the other only writ larger.
To decry someone who straps explosives to themselves and blows up commuters without criticising every externalised manifestation of irrational belief is inconsistent. Think about it. You don't want to be inconsistent do you?
People should be allowed to believe whatever they want. If they wish to impose costs on others the others should be compensated appropriately. If they cannot afford the compensation they should not generate the costs. A cost of religion is the tacit endorsement of belief based actions. That might be a bit too pricey for some.