Are there really any prophets?
by: John Tyrrell
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Last week in a speech to the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Mohamed Yatim, First Deputy Speaker of Morocco’s Lower House stated that the Moroccan parliament has called for the United Nations to set up an international instrument to criminalise blasphemy and the mockery of the prophets and he urged other Islamic states to join Morocco in this endeavour.
There's nothing really new here - Islamic countries have been trying for years to get the various protections of religions (quite different from the legitimate aim of protecting the religious freedoms of individuals) into the UN Declaration of Human Rights - trying to criminalize blasphemy internationally is just trying the same old thing from another direction. And in the usual ignorance associated with religion is the total failure to recognize that every religion is a blasphemy against every other religion. Not only that, every denomination and sect within a religion is a blasphemy against every other denomination and sect within that religion. Logically, criminalizing blasphemy entails criminalizing religion - every religion. But religion blinds its followers to logic.
But what about criminalizing mockery of prophets?
Well what is a prophet? Taking the first definition in my near antique (1962) Websters as probably the closest to what Yatim is referring to:
prophet: 1. a person who speaks for God or a god, or as though under divine guidance.
As non-believers we can reasonably say that not a single prophet exists, or has ever existed, under that definition. If we cannot know of a god's existence, how can we accept that someone is speaking for that god? And if we cannot know if any god exists, how can we judge what divine guidance is? Disbelief in any and all deities leads to disbelief in prophets.
Simply, there are no prophets.* The fact that some religions claim that certain people are prophets no more makes them actual messengers of god than does the belief in a god make an actual deity.
* Yes, this statement is in conflict with Meditation 1006: We are all prophets now. You are free to choose to accept either, neither, or both positions.
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