I respect believers in gods, even if I have no respect for their deities. I do not disrespect people for the sole reason they believe in Allah, Christ, Buddha, Shiva, or the River God of Nile while I side up with Darwin.
I would never ridicule a niqab-wearing woman who sees her mission in life as an exemplary second wife busying herself with cleaning the house when her husband is out shagging his first wife. That’s her way of life, and if she’s happy, who am I to judge? I simply don’t travel to places where they have many wives.
I would never look down at someone kissing a cross because I myself sympathise with the Christian concept of free will and being nice to other people at least once in a while. If for some people sticking to these principles requires kissing a cross, I am all for it. I would never think of joining an Easter procession to provoke a discussion of how and why a surge in the speed of informational exchange is related to a drop in the number of registered miracles.
What I hate is when believers want me to start wearing a metaphorical niqab, or kissing a metaphorical cross, or hugging a very real Nile crocodile. I hate it when believers want me to adapt to their views, their way of thinking and their path to salvation.
That’s exactly what is happening right now across the globe. Sharia police in London, Orthodox Kazak patrols in Moscow, Charlie Hebdo murders, religious activists breaking into galleries, etc. Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about it. And now they have come after me or rather one of my own.
There was no serious physical violence, only verbal abuse this time.
My son was riding the Tube (aka Underground, aka Metro). He was reading my post on Botero.
The one about the plump Christ.
An elderly lady sitting next to him forced his earphone out of his ear and started yelling at him. She went bananas because Botero’s painting insulted her religious feelings. She was traveling with a few similarly religious friends who joined in the chorus.
My son had to leave.
I wonder what would happen if there was a Charlie Hebdo caricature in his phone, and there was a similarly fanatical group of Muslims around him at the time. It’s not that I wonder, actually, I shudder.
What would you do in this situation?
Before you choose an answer, please note that a fanatically religious Russian woman is very likely to appear like this:
PS Please note I am talking about religious fanatics, not religious people as a whole.