Many of us attempt to be tolerant and open-minded, perhaps even politically correct, but eventually we are bound to experience an encounter that will force us to reevaluate our values of acceptance and diversity.
Given the outraged tone in which honour killings are generally reported in Western media, it is safe to assume that honour killings are frequently the said encounter.
The reason that the murder of a woman in the name of honour is so incomprehensible to a Western name lies in the Christian doctrine. (Even though many Westerners consider themselves and their institutions secular and eschew Christianity, this could not be further from the truth.)
The Bible teaches that pride is a sin (“The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5) with the doctrine of Original Sin capturing humanity’s inherent tendency towards pride and self-centredness.
Consequently, even an agnostic who reluctantly attends Church services on special occasions would struggle to comprehend how murder incited by the wounding of a man’s pride could be considered a religious act.
This is not to sat that Christianity is necessarily morally superior to Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism or any other religion in whose name honour killings have been (and continue to be) carried out. After all, Christians are not immune to the lure of tradition and societal pressure, even if it involves the murder of a loved one.
However, by examining the origins of our individual moral compasses, we enable ourselves to understand (but not necessarily approve of) the many moral compasses that contradict our own. This is especially true if in the process we are forced to humbly accept that we are nowhere near as rational and culturally unbiased as we would like to think ourselves.