Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

The Prophet Would Like The Teddy Bear

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-12-05

The "Mohammed the Teddy Bear" case, a teacher imprisoned for letting children name their classroom bear "Mohammed", is wrong-headed, even with the iconoclastic doctrine of Islam, which aims to prevent idolatry.  Indeed, the Prophet would probably approve.

Islamic iconoclasm has the attitude to concrete representations of religious figures in the same way that early Protestants destroyed statues and whitewashed walls in Roman Catholic churches, because such objects can lead people to worship the object, rather than the god.

If naming an obviously areligious teddy bear "Mohammed" is blasphemous, then giving a human that same name is worse, because humans are obviously "higher beings" compared to a teddy bear.  Are the children likely to fall prostrate in worship to a teddy bear?  No, so there is no theological risk.

Remember, even in Islam, Mohammed is respected, but not divine.  Even though Islam has the doctrine of the virgin birth of Isa/Jesus, Jesus is not considered divine and regards the triune godhead abhorrent.

I suspect Mohammed would even find cartoons of himself acceptable – the more satirical the better – because it means people are less likely to fall into the doctrinal trap of worshipping something other than a single, indivisible, abstract deity.

It is even likely that the zealots who object to the teddy bear are guilty of idolatry, because they are attaching way to much religious significance to images of the prophet!


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