I grew up in a country, where the overwhelming majority of people are atheist. Of course we celebrated Christmas and Easter and we all knew the relevant Biblical stories by heart, but it had never occurred to me that an adult of sound mind could find any spiritual meaning in those fairytales. That is, until I was nineteen years olden and had lived in Australia for eight years.
As I dabbled with different religions and interacted with people from diverse cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, I realised that not only could these fairytales of my childhood carry philosophical ideas that directly applied to my life, but the morals behind them had affected (and continue to affect) my worldview more than I had realised.
If you have grown up in a secular Western society, chances are that there are certain principles that you associate with religion and morality. And if you consider yourself to be an open-minded, tolerant and conscious global citizen, chances are that you consider these to be inherently good.
“Turning the other cheek.”
Humility as a virtue and pride as a vice.
Love as a value and the experience of romantic love as a right.
A force in the universe that is loving.
Even without believing in Christian doctrine, you may believe these principles to be morally desirable. And if you believe that all of the world’s major religions are united in their aim(s), then you may assume that anyone who acts in accordance with their conscience would adhere to these principles.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
After all, only major religion teaches of a deity that wholly loving, whose very substance is love.
You will also struggle to find a set of parents in the Middle East or Asia, who believe that their children are entitled to the privilege of marrying for love.
Moreover, a significant proportion of men around the world continue to persist in their ill-fated attempts at justifying senseless murders of women in the name of honour as Islamic.
So the next time you are outraged by a barbaric cultural practice (or any other infringement of human rights), before you begin your crusade for a global peace and the universal respect of human rights, ask yourself, whether everyone is truly interested in these human rights that you speak of or whether you are simply attempting to impose a legal document inspired by a doctrine you claim to no longer believe in. Perhaps in order to act in accordance with your conscience, you will have to accept that you are a Christian, Eurocentric, white supremacist.