You’re Offended, So What?

Oct 13, 2011 Comments Off by

It is astounding how, even in intellectual debates, the notion is suggested that none of the participants may offend anyone else. Needless to say, it is consistently suggested by the very religious.

But nobody has the right to not be offended, for one simple reason, that you can be offended by anything. You could take offence to the prime minister. Should the prime minister be removed from office so as not to offend you? You could take offence to the fact that someone else is even alive. Should that someone be killed so as the not offend you? How could you possibly make laws, or even general rules, about not offending people when there is no standard as to what offends someone and what does not.

Even if it were possible to devise a reliable and consistent system for punishing those who offend, it would still be ridiculous. You’re offended, so what? Nothing happens if you’re offended, you just dislike the person who offended you a little less, and even that may be an irrational thing to do. To suggest that one person may not say something because it will cause offence is a blatant violation of the concept of free speech.

It is important to remember that offence is taken and not given. Sometimes offence is taken when it was not intended, in which case it is fault of the person who took offence, and the speaker is not involved at all.

As Richard Dawkins described it, taking offence is the only weapon the religious have left.

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I am the founder of Atheism Network.
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