I have been struggling with this post, as I really don’t want to cause a ruckus. But it’s been niggling in my head for weeks and I need to get it out. That’s why I write a blog – to get rid of the things swirling in my brain.
So I found out about a couple that has asked for their child to be removed from Religious Education in school, because it goes against their religion to learn about other religions (or ethnicities, cultures or sexual orientations apparently).
I was quite stunned. To look at this couple they seem like very successful, educated, intelligent people.
To put it all out there, I am not religious. But I have studied and participated in many religions, cultures and ethnicities, as you can see from my bad travel photos attached. I admire many bits of all religions and my understanding is that they are about community, sharing, love, understanding and moral codes. They are there to help, support and foster wellbeing.
I don’t have a problem that someone believes something different to me. In fact, I love to have conversations talking about our different beliefs, why we believe as we do, how they help or impact our lives and I am quite happy to listen to persuasive arguments about them. But I would hope that I wasn’t dismissed for my beliefs. I would like to think that we would just agree to differ and enjoy each other’s differences.
And this way of thinking applies to every form of belief – Politics, Medicine vs Alternative Health, Diet, Childrearing, Relationships – everything that we act on is a form of belief and we all do it differently. We live in a fabulous world, full of wonderful things and without all the differences, it would be very dull.
Extreme beliefs of any form, seem to me, to make people very angry. Angry at other people, angry at society and angry at … oh just everything. I wander around every day believing that most people are honest, decent and just getting on with things like I am. I don’t think anyone is out to get me or do me wrong. That includes Doctors, Politicians, Teachers, Police – everyone. I know this might be naive and I know there are bad people out there, but I am happy in my belief and mostly I haven’t been proved wrong. If I do come across something that is obviously very wrong – someone or something causing damage or hurting something, well then I am quite capable of standing against them, but mostly I hope I just let people get on with their life and live very happily in my life.
So back to this couple. I have no problem with what they believe in, that is their prerogative. But it does make me sad that they have chosen a very angry way to live. And most importantly it makes me very cross that they are criminally inflicting on their child a life of hate, isolation and small mindness. Their child won’t have that fun gay friend that shows them a different side of nightclubbing, they won’t get invited to a glorious Indian wedding with all its finery, food and noise, they won’t want to go to colourful chaotic Islamic cities with old medina’s, the smell of spice and the wail of the call to prayer. If they get a university professor or boss who disappears to pray to Mecca a couple times of day – they will be uncomfortable. They won’t want to sit in the only available seat next to the black/pink/purple man on the bus and will look silly for not sitting down.
Their whole life will be so diminished; they will be isolated from so much of our lovely multi-cultural society. They will be angry, scared and sad. They will have to seek out that small group of likeminded people and fester in their anger.
Why do I think it’s criminal that they are doing this? Because the most important thing I believe in, is that it’s alright to believe in anything as long as you don’t hurt anybody else. That being the key with all extremists of all forms– you are causing pain to others and that is just wrong, wrong and wrong.