Nearly a half an hour or so mindlessly visiting social media, I find myself asking more questions than I never planned to ask in the first place. Today, my usual perusing of the interweb led me to questions regarding religion, its “archenemy”, secularism, and the competing principles of both beliefs, however banal and unresolved, which have shaped the society we are subjected to at every turn. Some of the most contentious issues in political discussion, such as gay rights, suicide, women’s place in society and abortion, I feel, are structured around laws that are historically influenced by religious doctrine which, in my secular humanist opinion, is flawed. I am not here to criticize any religious views by any means rather I just want to have my moment here to briefly rant for a spell.
So to start, I must ask, are we supposed to accept the proposition that people, in our society or otherwise, ought to be told what it is they ought to do with their life or have their personal decisions dictated by outside sources disconnected from their most intimate or deep-seated convictions? Of course not. Even if that is the way the law says it ought to be, is not reason enough for me. But religious folks, at least many that I have met or reviewed, seem to think otherwise. The way I see it, some religious views are clear cut motives for people to persecute, oppress and discriminate against other human beings. Why is it acceptable for others to be able to vote in support of laws that restrict other humans from marrying the person they love, regardless of gender, or deciding to abort a fetus, especially in the worst of circumstances (pregnancy by rape), or even coming to terms with intentionally ending a physically painful life, i.e. euthanasia? Having to convince other people that God will make everything better and fix all their problems, albeit temporarily, can be torturous to those subjected to such affliction. Religious beliefs do not ‘create’ moral code. Not necessarily. The simplest example I can offer is the feeling of ‘wrongness’ in having something taken away from you at your earliest memory as a child, be it a toy, your backpack, a lost meal, an absent parent. The inherent feeling of ‘wrongness’ we feel is within us as human beings and it is later attributed to religious beliefs that certain actions are wrong because of this or that such as many are taught in church. Something being ‘wrong’ because the Bible says so is not justification for laws to be burdened on those who either don’t believe or have a competing belief from their religious perspective. After-all, religion is man made and fluidly shifts from one belief to another between some groups of people to others.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with whatever it is that one believes. From childhood, individuals are habitually ingrained with beliefs that protect them from anything that could potentially be harmful or taint their good morals. No one can be faulted for any such thing or even told they are wrong in their religious views. Religious beliefs as justification for ‘wrongness’, is just that, a belief. Taking this perspective of belief and incorporating it into laws that directly affect other human beings in society, often against their will, is wrong in and of itself just as a religious person wouldn’t want their personal rights infringed upon. I am not here to say that religion itself is inherently wrong. I am simply stating what I believe to be faulty justification for already controversial issues dealing with a multiplicity of people from all backgrounds, histories and perspectives. -Shara L.