Bad reason 1: wanting to fight off prejudice.
Some people may harass you into explaining why the religious extremists -who happen to share the same label with you- do the things they do. And you may think civil engagements will prevent them from demonising you.
How cutely naive of you.
The fact that they already try to lump you with the extremists without even knowing you show how they already have their beliefs set in stone and the only thing they care about is affirming them. The more you explain everything, the more they feel their beliefs affirmed, regardless of what you actually say and do.
If you assert that not all of your fellow believers are evil, they will accuse you of denying the existence of extremism. If you have proven yourself as one of those good guys, they will insist the extremists are the true believers and you are the fake ones. If you are a Muslim, they will accuse you of Taqiyya -a word that they keep on dishonestly misdefining- and perceive every single one of your word as a lie, unless you willingly become their lapdogs and sell your fellow Muslims out.
Adding a personal experience of mine, in which someone accused me of mocking victims of Islamic extremism, simply because I shared a video that mocked anti-Muslim bigotry.
The thing about humans is we can only truly and voluntarily change for the better if we have the desire in the first place. The obligation to initiate the transformation is on us, NOT on others.
Why do we have to prove that we are worthy of being treated like human beings? Why do we have to prove that bigotry is wrong? Why do we have to be civil and accommodating towards those who want us dead simply because we are different?
Bad reason 2: wanting to rationally justify it.
Here’s a bitter pill to swallow: your religious faith does not make any sense.
Let me start with my own personal story.
When I was a lot younger, I used to think science and religion were the exact same thing, but expressed differently. I tried to use science to justify the validity of my religion. Obviously, that’s stupid. Nowadays, I believe science and religion serve entirely different purposes and they inherently cannot be mixed together.
After dropping my pseudoscientific tendency, I started to have a difficulty describing my relationship with Islam; it was frustrating to experience something and yet unable to describe it concretely.
One day, I saw Reza Aslan’s interview on The Young Turks, in which he stated the cause of his persistent religiosity, despite years of studying religions sceptically: the religious symbolism felt personally meaningful to him.
And I fell in love with his answer! Finally, I knew how to precisely put my faith in words without pseudoscience!
Well, except, there was nothing about precise about that. I was so smitten by it, I didn’t realise how abstract it was and I thoughtlessly used it justify my belief, both to my fellow Muslims (many of whom despise my liberal attitudes) and non-Muslims. I didn’t know Aslan’s exact thought process and personal experiences… and yet, I acted like I did; I acted as if his were exactly similar to mine.
It didn’t take me long to realise how it made no sense. I sounded like a rambling idiot (still do). It didn’t help that I tried to frame a highly metaphysical opinion as objective and rational. Aslan, on the other hand, never tried to frame that opinion of his as such.
You may argue I am just projecting myself onto others and you may argue other people’s religiosity may be more authentic and more rational than mine. Growing up and still living in a religious environment, I have listened to lots of people describing their religious spirituality and, when it comes to the roots of their religiosity, they can be categorised into three:
Those who are religious because they grew up religious, those who feel saved by their religions and those who use pseudoscience to validate their religions.
Obviously, my categorisation is flawed. Not only it is not scientific, it is very rigid, ignoring that anyone and anything in life will always be difficult to put into boxes; in fact, according to my own categorisation, I used to belong to two categories.
But, despite that, I can confidently say all the people I observe have something in common: they are emotionally-attached to their religions.
I don’t see how any of the aforementioned traits are products of reason and scientific inquiries.
A good reason: you are a fucking asshole
If you love shoving your belief down other people’s throats, to the point where you won’t give up until every living being on earth converts, then you do have to explain yourself!
Fortunate for other people, you are the kind of people who are more than willing to explain yourselves, which means you are responsive to every question and argument bombarded at you, which means you open your faceholes a lot more, which means you will always dig deeper holes for yourselves.
Yes, I am certain your words will always be nothing but verbal diarrhoea. I mean, you believe the religions you happen to belong to are the only correct ones and are the only ways to be moral human beings. How can anyone with brains think you are capable of sound thinking?
You have committed every single fallacy in the book and you have incited hatred and even violence against non-believers. Unless you truly repent, there is no reason for me to believe you won’t stop being cunts any time soon.
Obviously, you are human beings. Eventually, you may get tired of having bombarded with loads of possibly hostile questions. When you have reached that point…. well, you better suck it up, buttercup!
You have divided the already-divided world even further and your hateful words have directly and indirectly contributed to violent and sometimes deadly attacks against people you refuse to see as human beings. You cannot spew venom and then complain when you are on the receiving end. You have to fucking endure it, you bunch of worthless fucks!
People hate you not because you happen to share labels with assholes, people hate you because you are the assholes!
Oh, and let’s not pretend that you are not a reason why your peaceful fellow believers become victims of bigotry. You definitely are.
Do you seriously think you do not contribute to the creation and affirmation the stereotypes? Do you seriously think all of your fellow believers see you lobotomised apes as martyrs?
Yes, I do realise part one and part three also apply to any forms of bigotry. But, I focus on the religious one because part two is strictly a religion-related topic.
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