No, criticising theocracies isn’t hate speech
I’m religious. But I’m tired of religious people shoving their beliefs on others
I am religious. I feel incredibly connected to the world around me, I feel there is more than what I can simply explain through my degree, and I pray. I find peace at Schul. I don’t care what you think about that, or whether you think I’m right or wrong. And more than that: I don’t care what you do instead.
There are millions of pathways in your brain between neurons and synapses that connect in your brain not only in development but as an adult. Your epigenetics will shift throughout your physical experiences, your psychology and even sexuality will move as your hormones and environment does.
Imagine the light through the leaves falling on the ground. The light is the same, the leaves are the same, but the shapes the shadows make change with the wind. It’s a good metaphor for understanding the embodied transcience of the human form. I can predict, as a behaviourist and anatomist, what is likely to happen, but to some extent it is simply a matter of when, where and who. World views are very similar to that.
People like to pretend there is the science world ‘real world’ and the faith world ‘pretend world’ but in truth there is no barrier in the human brain that keeps those entirely seperate. We could have a debate about whether science was separate from philosophy all day, but scientifically speaking, the human brain does not physically separate the meta narrative into neat little bubbles. You experience Your world through your body and your memory bank. You’ll bump off ideas through language from the people and books around you, and gradually what is real and true forms an image. That image will change as your social circle and knowledge changes. This is basic cognition.
So why is it then, that people think we can exist in a global narrative and psyche?
I’d argue supremacy is the root of this. We all want to believe that what we feel is right is actually right. It’s nice and reassuring to think that your idea of reincarnation is right, Abraham is the true prophet, that there is such thing as the Oedipus Complex, and that the Quran is absolutely the word of God. It gives us a nice stable feeling and sense of identity. I’m not saying that any of the above is particularly wrong, just that they come from groups of human thought that aren’t shared by all humans.
Humans like being right. And it can be very hard to bump into a human who exists in a different reality of truth to you.
There is a great line in a very trippy film called The Blue Bird.
“What are all wars are caused by? Greed, Selfishness and greed.”
And I’d argue that selfishness (including thinking your ‘right’ is more right that anyone else) is indeed a pretty good example of that. When you force your reality over other people, no matter how great you think it is, it causes a great deal of problems. You can’t make someone believe in God. You can’t make someone think Sharia law is good. You absolutely can’t force someone to be straight or religious. It just doesn’t work.
So theocracy doesn’t work. Or rather it does, for the people who benefit and are part of the theocracy. But there are athiests, gay people, minority religions and women in every single theocracy in the world, and demanding they suffer in silence is cruel and unneccesary.
However ‘offended’ you feel by people disagreeing with you, their rights come first. A friend recently criticised Morocco for having strict Islamic Law (women have limited rights and she rightly called some of the men hypocrites for enjoying western freedom and removing it from others) and got accused of being ‘offensive’ by another woman. This saddened me a lot.
Do we live in a world where belief is so weak, so fragile, that we cannot listen to criticism or try to change it to make the world a better place?
We must understand that reality and truth mean different things to different people. Otherwise we will live in eternal division and suffering.