Sticks and Stones

Cartoon drawings of Mohammad are back in the news lately. True to form, Muslims are rioting and making dire threats.

Have Muslims no choice but to be offended by cartoons depicting Mohammad? No choice but violence in their response? The answers to these two questions need not be the same.

If we understand “taking offense” to be emotional reaction, then the Muslims who take offense — who feel offended by the cartoons — probably have no immediate choice. One feels what one feels.

The answer to the second question: choice is the name of the game. To assert that no choice of actions is available to them would be to deny free will. It’s of the essence of humanithy to have the capacity to choose actions on the basis of thought.

Muslims, or anybody, who disdain thinking in favor of faith, have only whim to guide their actions. And so they whimsically riot against all who do not share their thoughtless respect of their “Prophet.”


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