Wednesday 8 April 2015

The "my personal beliefs don't hurt anyone" lie

Most, if not everyone, has heard at some point that a persons personal religious beliefs do not hurt anyone. So I was thinking about this, and have come to the conclusion that the idea that personal beliefs do not cause harm is an absurd notion to say the least.An obvious example to consider is marriage equality, where people who oppose equality do it based purely on personal religious beliefs. That is the are promoting discrimination based on personal views, and this is demonstrable harm in many ways. However, while important this is a weak example as there is no violent physical harm been done by denying someone the right to marry. Let me reiterate for the outrage warriors, to hold this view is discriminatory, it is not however violent.

Some good examples of hurt being done by personal views are the draconian laws held in place in multiple Muslim and Christian countries around the world. We just need to look at Saudi Arabia and Iran to see the oppression of women, as they do not have the same value as men. This discrimination based on personal views is a massive factor behind women getting raped and then exectued or sent to jail for being raped. Or we can turn our gaze onto Uganda and see the harm Christian thought about homosexuality is doing to gays in that country. There are already laws in place to send you to jail for being gay, but sometimes you may not make court as the righteous Christians execute you in the name of their good lord.

But, we can go a step further and even look at individuals. For example look at Vladimir Putin, he is Russian Orthodox and frankly allows the church to get away with pretty much anything in Russia, while promoting the virtues of religion. In facts his willingness to give his signature to laws discriminating against gays has a strong basis in Christianity. The justification of these laws has in turn lead to numerous violent acts against gays in Russia already. This surely is a good example of a personal religious beliefs causing harm, yet we should still just accept the lie that personal religious beliefs do not cause harm.

Or how about that other shining light of freedom George W. Bush who said the following "Faith informed my principles and decisions, but not my tactics. It would give me strength, but I didn’t use my faith to make decisions. Freedom is a faith informed principle." This is the same Christian faith then that informed him in his decisions to go to war. War, wher Christians get to take part in that time held honorable Christian value of killing. Now, let me state I am not criticizing him for going to war, I am saying if he listened to his faith to make a decision, then Christianity is largely accountable for these war deaths. So again, this is another fine example of personal beliefs causing deadly harm to others.

The list continues when we look at countries like South Africa during Apartheid, Nazi Germany during World War II, Pakistan and India today, etc etc. This is why I do not buy into the lie that "my personal beliefs never hurt anyone."