Sunday, 10 November 2013

Religion


Hello all,

It's been a bit of a strange day. By that, I mean that it started off alright, but now it's plummeting downwards faster than a one-winged duck in open season. All of this is due to religious intolerance.

However, it's not the sort that you'd be most familiar with. This isn't the usual 'my religion is better than your religion' kind of argument, it's an 'all religions (and therefore religious people) are stupid' sort of thing. I know that this sounds like the beginning of a rant, but please, let me assure you that it's not out of anger that I'm writing this, but out of exasperation.

Religious intolerance in general is a very old problem. To my mind, it stems from every human's need (and desire) to belong to a group, and the demonstration of one's loyalty to said group by insulting, mocking, or physically attacking members of another group. It's pretty much n the same vein as xenophobia, and about as pointless.

Even though it might be sociologically or anthropologically explicable, though, it doesn't make it right. There are plenty of other things which might be explained through the assumption that humans are base creatures with animalistic behaviour, such as wars, murder, and a whole host of other atrocities, ad that certainly doesn't make them right.

Religion seems to cause divides like no other factor. Wars, discrimination, and even slavery have been 'justified' by various religions worldwide. One could see why, in this modern age, people shy away from the topic of religion. It's become unpopular, almost taboo in certain circles or age groups, to be a member of a religion.

This is a far cry from your stereotypical, run-of-the-mill religious intolerance. In our society, certainly in some circles that I've experiences you are mocked for being religious in any way. Even if you're not a member of an organised religion, the mere notion of any sort of spiritual belief (no matter how abstract, or well-intentioned) seems to whip some people into a kind of bloodthirsty frenzy. Not only do we still have religious groups attacking other religions, but we also have a number of atheists attacking members of different religions. It's downright confusing.

Personally, I was a Christian for a large portion of my life, and fluctuated between religion and atheism in recent years, before settling rather indecisively in the agnostic column. I've never been insulted by a religious person for my atheism, but I've certainly been mocked, gibed, and made to feel terrible by atheists for my religion. Although the situation was definitely humourless, in some way it seemed ironic to me, as I was being called an idiot (and worse) for not questioning things, but no-one who was insulting me ever asked me what I actually believed in. They never gave me the chance to express my beliefs in the Big Bang, and evolution; they didn't listen when I explained that I didn't believe that Jesus was the son of God (and was probably a composite of forward-thinking people), but that I thought that he had some good ideas. God or no God, isn't being the best person that you can be the most important thing in life?

No-one ever seems to ask before they judge people, and it's a shame. We're all the same, after all, and your beliefs are your own, aren't they? The freedom to follow and express one's own religion is in the UN Charter of Human Rights; it can't get much more fundamental than that. It just seems silly to fight with people who essentially believe in the same moral and ethical code as you, just because it's called something different. Beliefs are completely personal. If you hurt someone, sure, that's an example of a belief that should be discouraged, but the generalisation of all religious beliefs as 'stupid' and 'wrong' is just plain nuts. Surely the goal that we're all working towards is one of universal equality, right? If you say, as others have said to me, that you're tying to be the best person you can be, well, doesn't that involve not fighting with other people over views that don't hurt anybody?

It's just a thought.
 
Dabbler.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Civil Marriage

This issue is surely one of civil marriage, not one which affects religious institutions? Obviously, I'm biased for gay marriage, but nonetheless is it not simply the application of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to all people, of all sexualities? It states that every person should live free from discrimination, and surely the denial of access to marriage rights, and the legal recognition offered by the right to marry, is discrimination? When you think of the fact that people can meet in Vegas and marry straight away, that arranged marriages still occur, and that there are people who have had multiple short-term marriages, how do these not desecrate the supposed sanctity of marriage? All that we are asking for, for ourselves and our friends, is that we have a right to live free from discrimination. A few decades ago, mixed race marriage caused just as much of a stir, but that died away, and we're left with the result of a world made better for the wide variety of marriages in it. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, that's true, we just calmly ask that you at least allow the progress of our rights, and the rights of the overall gay and lesbian community, through the passing of a bill enabling civil marriage equality. I'd love if religious organisations could stand with us to, but we'll be happy to start with civil marriage, as a stepping-stone for full equality.

Dabbler.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Marriage Equality

Hello everyone. Please excuse me while I rant.

I'm here, sitting at home, listening to many political analysts, politicians, a whole lot of people. All of these people are discussing gay marriage. Some are against.

I have one question: Why?

I am bisexual, I find both men and women attractive, and hope one day to be in a long-term relationship (who doesn't) and that that relationship, whatever one it is, is one which is recognised equally. At the moment, we only have civil partnerships, not gay marriage. Add to this the fact that the non-biological parent of a child in a gay relationship has NO LEGAL RIGHTS to that child, and you'll see that gay people are hardly treated equally in our society.

Why is there a problem with gay, secular marriage? I understand that religious groups have issues with it, though I of course disagree, but civil marriage should have no opponents. It is a right of every citizen to be treated equally, so access to marriage is one of the last barriers to full equality available for all.

Some people have resorted to calling gay relationships 'friendships', nothing more, which I find to be deeply insulting. if you yourself are married, or hope to be some day, please, ask yourself: why? Most will answer 'love'. This love is not gender-specific. Therefore, why should the ability to marry be decided based on the gender of the one you love?

I could talk for hours on this point, but I feel that it's up to the world to call for change, as dramatic as that sounds. I wish to work for the rest of my life for equality, in some way, no matter how small and I hope you'll all join me. Everyone can love, so why not accept it?

Dabbler.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Evolution and Religion

Who cares? I believe in evolution, but why does everyone have to be such asses to other people, all because you believe that different things happened in the past???? It's just causing more tensions, creating huge rifts between societies, and making politics and keeping people safe a heck of a lot more difficult, because people insist on acting like two year olds and sitting around saying 'no, your idea's stupid'. Cop on, like. Who cares? So you believe they're wrong, and they believe you're wrong. Get over it. How do you expect to create an integrated society that accepts all people, unless you accept that everyone has the right to believe in what they want, so long as t doesn't infringe on the rights of others. That's in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You may think, whatever side you're on, that you're being a genius and attempting to prove your opponents wrong, but that won't work, and there are more important things to do. Isn't it more important to get every person on the planet to work together towards a better future than to sit around arguing about the past?

Everyone has better things to do with their life than to cause conflicts. In fact, I'm sure that if you got to know the people that you argue with, you'd see them as good people, just ones with whom you have disagreements over beliefs. This is where all of our problems lie. When we create a cynical view of an organised religion, science, faith system, or lifestyle, we see it just as a faceless mass of people, to be insulted and derided. This has caused wars, continued human rights abuses, tensions between countries, and a lack of political stability in vast regions.

For everyone who persists with these arguments, I can empathise. I was religious before, and I was subjected to very demeaning, nigh-on bullying tactics by people who considered me to be stupid, despite my A-grade average. RELIGION AND BELIEFS ARE NOT A SIGN OF STUPIDITY. Even now, as a non-religious person (agnostic, I should say) I will defend the rights of others to hold their own beliefs, so long as it does not infringe on the rights of other people. The people who bully you, for your religion or lack of religion, are only showing their ignorance. The people who spoke down to me clearly believed that they were right, and that they were right to use such tactics, and create such a rift between people, splitting them into the 'believer' and 'scientist' groups. This discrimination is no better than racism, homophobia, or sexism.

The division of people, and groups of people, by religion, has caused conflicts in areas throughout the globe. I'm sure you're all aware of the conflict between Israel and Palestine? That's only one example. Do we want this to become more widespread? Well, I certainly don't. So please, if you are someone who argues with people of different beliefs, please realise that you're doing nothing. You won't change anyone's mind; you might just destroy their confidence, their happiness, and their life by repeatedly verbally (or physically) attacking them on this issue.

If you are someone who is struggling with people who act like this towards you, please, if you are in school: talk to your parents, your teachers, your principal, and have them address the issue and the people. I did this, and it worked. They only want to make you feel safe and happy, know this. If you are an adult: talk to your employer, if the problem is at work, or contact the police, your local political representative, an Ombudsman, and ask your friends if they have experienced the same issue.

Never, ever, suffer in silence. These actions are also the ones which I would suggest you take if you are a victim of sexist, racist or homophobic bullying or discrimination.

Dabbler.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Palestine & Israel

Congratulations to Palestine, on becoming a non-member observer Satate of the United Nations. the Palestinian people deserve equality and recognition, and have finally achieved it. Let's hope that they now put all of their efforts into coming to some sort of peace agreement with Israel. The tensions between these nations is tearing the Middle East apart, and causing people worldwide to pick sides, creating bitterness and resentment. This is not the wish of either party, I'm sure, and they should work even harder to eradicate the barriers which have been erected by time, mistrust, and past deeds. Every country has a difficult past, full of war and strife, but nations cannot be allowed to use others as a scapegoat, or justify their current behaviour by past atrocities committed against them. Please, if anyone is reading this in a country where there is no freedom, or little (or no) peace, stand up for the rights of all, and call upon your governments to live peacefully. One of my favourite quotes is "when the rich wage war, it's the poor who die". Never have truer words been spoken. Please, please, work for peace in your lives, not war.

Dabbler

Friday, 30 November 2012