We all have different ideas on various gods, whether or not they're human (and therefore a person), and whether holy books are inerrant words of their gods, and whether such gods even exist. This poses quite an interesting discussion.
I was recently accused of slander, because I made some comments about the Abrahamic God which the poster did not like. So, let's discuss whether or not I committed slander.
For the following quote, the source is a legal dictionary: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/slander
slander n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit.
For the rest of the definition, please refer to the cited link, in accordance with copyright rules. It gets pretty detailed, since it is a legal dictionary.
Hmmm. Slander is oral defamation, so obviously I did not commit slander. My comments about this god were in writing. So perhaps I committed libel instead? From the same source, let's see what libel is. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/libel
libel 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others. Libel is the written or broadcast form of defamation, distinguished from slander which is oral defamation.
For the rest of the definition, please refer to the cited link, in accordance with copyright rules. It's a good read.
Well. Libel and slander both have to be committed against a person, and that person then has the right to sue you. God and Jesus aren't "persons" in the sense of the law. If they were, anyone who scoffs at Zeus or Odin has committed libel and can be sued ... wouldn't you just love to see God, Odin or Zeus come down and sue you? So, I didn't commit libel, since my comments were discussing a god's behavior, not that of a person.
Libel also has to be a lie. Can a god prove my statement about it was a lie? Obviously not - it hasn't provided any empirical evidence, nor any proof, for its existence other than a single book supposedly written by it. So that's out. If it did create the Earth, it has in fact provided me with evidence that many of its myths couldn't have happened.
Next, we have "against the reputation of a person who has died" - but Jesus is still living, according to his followers. So that's out, too, even if he were a person. The law says nothing about resurrection, although I suppose we could ask the courts to decide. Then, we get into the public figure issue. God and Jesus are certainly public figures, so the Supreme Court has already pretty much covered my rear end on that count too.
Getting back to the lying part - the bible clearly states that God told his followers to rape, kill and enslave their enemies. It also states that he murdered a lot of people. So my stating that fact is clearly just quoting what that god himself supposedly said. So again, no libel. Again, this gets interesting - if what I said was an untruth, then that pretty much shoots down the literalist view of the bible.
So, I definitely did not commit slander, as I was accused of. But I was libeled, according to the definition, by being called a slanderer and an Antichrist, not to mention evil, in writing.
Isn't the dictionary a fun thing to read, especially a legal dictionary?