For the serious-minded among you, I recommend curling up with Leonard Levy’s 688-page Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred from Moses to Salman Rushdie. But first, to review the current bidding, take a look at David Gibson’s piece over on Politics Daily. It seems that the occasion has sparked some internecine warfare between the atheist old guard in the person of Paul Kurtz, and the Young Turks of the Center for Inquiry who want to throw godless pies in the faces of the pious.
As my colleagues Barry Kosmin et al. recently made clear in their recent report, non-religious Americans (Nones) these days tend to fall into the Deistic, skeptical-but-not-actively-anti-religious category that can trace its lineage to the Founders. But the pie-in-the-face school has also been around for a long time. To sample its wares, you might take a look at the infamous anonymous treatise known as The Three Impostors (Les Trois Imposteurs, De Tribus Impostoribus). It was sometime near the end of the 17th century, and is extant in various forms, one of which can be found here.
The three impostors are, of course, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad–“Legislators whose Religions have subjugated a great part of the universe…guides whom ambition alone has raised up, & whose dreamings are eternalized by ignorance.” In the words of Ecclesiastes, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”