On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 1:50 AM, Peter Bleackley
<[log in to unmask]> wrote>
> I'd just like to explain why it's considered wrong to make casual use of the Hallowed Name, as it's often easier to respect other people's beliefs if you understand where they come from.

FWIW: I actually do know and understand the naming taboo in Judaism.

There was an amusing story [1] on This American Life a while ago by
Shalom Auslander, about how in his Hasidic school he had to treat his
own homework assignments, lunch bags, etc specially because of this

I just don't care about it any more than I care about the silly things
required of Discordians [2], Fundamentalist Mormons, old Norse, or
Scientologists. Surely I'm not expected to obey all their mandates
too? If yes, I would undoubtedly have been murdered by now [3], let
alone being able to live a reasonably free modern life. If no, why
does this religion deserve special treatment?

Given the literally lethal consequences of my being consistent about
deferring to *all* other cultures' and religions' edicts, and my a
priori refusal to treat any particular one of them specially, I don't
consider myself bound to the Yahweh naming taboo any more than I am to
that of the Chinese Emperor 嬴政. As far as I'm concerned, telling me
not to say something is simply censorship, and that is a very slippery
slope (viz. the whole Mohammed comics fiasco) whose end is theocracy.
I am unwilling to subjugate myself to someone else, be they monarch or
theocrat [4].

To me "Yahweh" *is* just another proper name for a deity, like "Thor"
or "Zeus". I don't think it's reasonable, in general practice, to
forbid someone from e.g. referring to one's mother by name (the "do to
someone's mother" standard is a decent general one for politeness). So
I don't think it's reasonable to forbid someone from referring to
Yahweh by name either.

Such freedom of speech has the inherent side effect of a lack of
freedom from offense. I would advise the easily offended to grow a
thicker skin about others' behavior (especially when it is not an
attack on them personally [5]) and to get a thinner identity (viz.
again strongly:

I am not seeking to cause offense - and indeed I think that
deliberately doing so is fairly crass - but neither am I willing to
curtail behavior that *from a neutral perspective* is perfectly
reasonable. [6]

In short: I respectfully and knowingly refuse to obey.


For the purposes of this list, I think that it is simply unnecessary
to talk about real-world religions, and thus we can moot this issue of
offense vs censorship altogether. This is what the NCNC rule is for. I
suggest we follow it.

So: truce, please?

I'd really like us to get back to the conlanging part of this thread,
which I think is interesting and worth more development, rather than
discussing issues that are irrelevant to our shared interest in
conlanging and sufficiently sensitive that even neutral discussion is
unavoidably [7] offensive to some members.

- Sai

[2] We are prohibited from believing in them anyway :-P
[3] Sadly, I'm not exaggerating. I can think of at least a dozen
reasons why people who actually obey the Old Testament (let alone
various other religions' edicts) are *mandated* to kill me. I am
fortunate to live in a society where such behavior is forbidden - a
freedom not enjoyed by some other people on this planet, where these
theological laws are followed more literally - and lethally.
[4] Meta-cultural note: I'm not only American but a hacker, and thus
my power distance index is near zero. Cf.
[5] I hope I have avoided actually insulting *people*, as I have no
intent to do so. As I mentioned before, there's a huge difference IMO
between refusal to obey and insult. The worst I've said is that I
think certain beliefs are silly. I think lots of things are silly,
including a tremendous number of my own behaviors. :-P
[6] To those who think that this is not neutral: replace all instances
of the word "Yahweh" above with "the Flying Spaghetti Monster". Are
you offended? If not, it's probably your issue and not mine.
[7] .. in that some are offended by my neutral speech, and I'm
offended by censorship