In modern political discourse and the standard discourses of society, the targeting of religious topics is often frowned upon. Many journalists and citizens have realised the hard way as one wrong word or turn of phrase can see an honest and fair article be spun into an attack on a single religion, which in turn can often lead into to a Social Media witch hunt… and a few days/weeks of internet hell.
Islamaphobe, Anti-semite, Anti-Christian or blasphemer are all tags which any good hearted person would seek to avoid due to their negative connotations, which are very similar to being labelled a Racist, yet these are terms which are thrown about with ease and reckless abandon in the Online world. It is now common on Social Media to see a clear overuse of terms which signify racial hatred, most often used as a tool to shut down people and discussion down to control how online debates are perceived, as being labelled as a peddler of ‘Racial Hatred’ is almost as serious as being labelled a Racist and a great way to stop people being listened to.
BTW: Being a real peddler of ‘Racial Hatred’ is a really bad idea, and will never work in the long run. Real peddlers of all forms of hate will eventually be shut down and their funding will dry up. (if they don’t dry up, they may have bigger support than you realised!) Don’t be a Peddler of Hate!
This line of thought led me to ask the question ‘Can someone be accused of attacking any single religion if make a comment that scrutinises ALL religion?’?
I will make an admission, I have no religion at all. I was never baptised and I have never followed any religion, only ever going to a church for other peoples Weddings and ‘Doors open Days’. I see myself as having no religion at all, none whatsoever, I dont even like to class myself as an Aithiest, as even they have their own belief system, I prefer to be classed as ‘having no religion’. Something that may surprise readers after this admission is the fact that while I have no religious beliefs I have huge respect for all (real**) Religions and a great deal of love for everyone who follows a Religious belief. While I do not believe in religions, I find the religious worlds to be some of the most inspiring, and historically interesting topics humanity has to read about. (Such as the stories which occur in all religious texts, documenting real moments in human history told by different historical writers. )
Back to my point though, can someone be accused of attacking of any one religion if they make a comment that covers all religions? The obvious answer here is YES if someone directly targets a single religion, so let’s ignore this elephant in the room and instead focus on the occasions when someone makes a blanket statement, without malice, against all religions.
What led me to this question was the observation of thousands of different ‘debates’ on social media where people were be labelled as Islamaphobic or Anti-semitic when they are in fact making a fair blanket statement about a crime or atrocity, which in reality is directed at all religion. The Example I will use is one that I have seen play out on more than one occasion. This is a situation where a user on Twitter has commented that ‘The Israel Government should not use Religion as an excuse to murder’ and were very quickly swamped with allegations of being Anti-Semitic. When we look at this sort of comment, on the outset, yes, this could be said to be a comment against the Jewish religion, but in reality, this kind of comment is an attack on all religion, as it stated that a ‘Government should not use Religion as an excuse to murder’, with the emphasis on ‘Government’, ‘religion’ and ‘murder’. At the time of writing this, in Sudan and Sri Lanka atrocities are being committed in the name of all religions, Murder in the name of Religion is not unique to any one religion and the fair comments and opinions on atrocities in the name of any religion, should not be shut down on a factory level, this leads to an imbalance in opinions.
The use of Religion to enforce a belief that people of any one religion are better than anyone else, and that they have more rights than anyone else, is something that humanity needs to really wake up too as we are all the same! At this moment of time, there are multiple atrocities which are being committed in the name of a Religion while the rest of the planet stands back and allows to happen, too scared to comment and be labelled a Racist.
My hope is that society can open its collective eyes, and minds to the realisation that merely commenting on anything bad (or good), that is committed ‘in the name of a religion’ is not a crime. I feel it is ridiculous to have the opinion that simply talking about religious ideologies and the many versions of these belief systems, which do at times drive people to do commit crimes, should not and cannot be discussed. Crime is Crime, Murder is Murder and Human Suffering should never be tolerated regardless of the victim’s race or religion. If we allow elements of society to close down all debate on this topic, hiding potential crimes, we allow that state, religion or dictator the power to dictate what actually IS a crime and who should be punished. This is a route to Fascism.
In 2019, let’s step up and take a stance against this abuse of narrative and Remember, it is not a crime to talk about religion. We must not let ourselves be scared into silence when talking about the many crimes which are committed in the name of Religion, globally. It is possible to talk about any issue, or nuance of any Religion and as long as what is being talked about is factual, with no embellishments, and in a way that does not unfairly spin what is being discussed as a reason to paint everyone that follows that religion as bad or Evil, then no crime has been committed.
The conflation of Religion, state and geopolitics is something I wish humanity would avoid but not something I feel will ever go away. The conflation of a hot topic with religion is something we see across the world, in the UK we can see the far-right of politics do this by attaching Islam to Crimes committed by Muslim men to create a Boogeyman that scares people, which is also a common theme across the EU and Americas Far-Fight politics. In Myanmar (Burma) we see the same sort of Islamaphobic Rhetoric be used to justify what has been described as a ‘Genocide’ of the Rohingya. The Conflation of Religion with national/ geopolitical causes is, I feel, a very nasty form of Politics and Media Control which is something people should always be on the lookout for, so we can learn to also learn to rise above this mentality.
It is my hope that in the coming years, decades and millennia that have yet to come, that we can drop horrid concepts like whataboutery or social media dogpiling to defend crimes and shut down fair discussions that may involve any religious content. If humanity wants to truly evolve then we need to get used to facing up to the negativities of our own kind and grow away from them through positive engagement and the shedding of aggression (passive or direct) as the route to getting their own way.
Make love, not War! Let’s come together humanity! Dont let religion get in the way of being nice!
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