Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Perception

Firstly, sorry I’ve not posted for a few weeks – I’ve just moved house into a new area, so I’m getting to grips with the place and trying to meet new people!

Perception interlinks with many of my previous articles – in the way that everybody thinks. Perception is, quite simply, everything a person bases their opinion(s) on.

It’s such a wide-ranging subject, it’s quite hard to pin-point a place where to start, and I’ll only be covering a small amount.

So many aspects of life influence individuals to think the way they do. Natural perception is a double-edged sword, it can be a beautiful yet a terrible thing.

In Western Civilisation, we have the luxury of free speech (and thought). This is a luxury which I, for one, take for granted. I feel my life should strive towards making enough money to support a family, having a good standing in society and being respected by my peers. That is a fairly common feeling in the capitalist state I’ve been brought up in, and no doubt matches the aims of basic fulfilment in life for many people.

In Eastern culture, no doubt the basic aims are similar; achieving a means to support a family and respect amongst communities and work-colleagues. There are massive differences in culture though. Free-speech isn’t always free. Culture is very different in the aspects of things we take for granted, such as healthcare, policing, law and justice amongst many others. Whilst we barely notice the level of infrastructure around us, some countries struggle to feed the population, law is marshalled by gangs, and such things as basic healthcare are non-existent.

Of course, from these two different extremes (being very general), perception of the same entities can produce completely different results. Take, for example, a lingerie model. In western civilisation, a model is common to see – and a fair majority of men might indeed think to themselves, “What a beautiful woman”. In contrast, in countries such as Iran – where women are very much second-fiddle and are indeed treated as such – a man might think this same woman was shameful and ought to be punished.

In some of the cases I have seen and read, it calls forth a recollection of George Orwell’s iconic tale 1984. The idea of thoughts being marshalled, and often marshalled by fear. Not just fear of civilisation around the given thoughts, but fear of being punished by a God.

Whereas perception is a product of everything around us, I find it almost a shame in the idealistic world that we don’t have a natural perception from our own minds. We are so heavily influenced from the way we are taught, it’s almost as if our thoughts aren’t even our own. We are taught the language we think with, by teachers who teach their style of language. Each and every subject we learn is the same; learning from parents is also very similar. Essentially everything that we actually think is the product of something or someone else. Quite a surreal thought, in hindsight – is anything original?

The luxury we have in being in such a free country is the freedom of literature, speech and thought. We can ‘choose’ what we feel and can research and develop our feelings in numerous ways because of our freedom to do so.

I find that hate is bred from ignorance of the unknown, as is commonly seen in the countries we live in. This is only worse for the countries without the basic freedoms we have. Without freedom to information and thought, hatred can be bred through generations – whether it be towards America, or the Jewish faith. We should take advantage of the liberties that we have and exercise the use of information we have been privileged with.

So perhaps the next time you dislike, or even hate something – it might be worth looking into the subject matter more, before placing your judgement.

After all, there are two sides to every story.

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Racism

As aforementioned in my article about the meaning of life, this is going to be a piece all about the ignorance of racists.

The common perception of a racist is a person who discriminates against another because of a different skin colour and/or ethnic background. Racism, of course, actually covers a much larger ground than just skin colour: racial discrimination usually derives from highlighting taxonomic differences between persons or groups. This could include weight, religion, sexual orientation and, well, just about anything. In a sense, it’s simply bullying somebody because they’re different.

I’m fairly sure that most of us in our lives can hold our hands up and admit we’ve been racist to someone at some point. Quite usually, though, it’s a harmless jibe and not intended as anything hurtful. Unfortunately, in some cases, the roots to racism are much, much worse, and the results can be sickening.

The worst case of racism we’ve seen in recent years was the culling of the Jewish faith during the second World War. Around an estimated 6 million Jewish people died during Hitler’s regime. If we add in the Polish ethnic, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses, the disabled, soviet civilians and prisoners of war, the actual loss of life could be anywhere from 11-17 million people who died for Hitler’s racism.

Hitler believed he could purify Germany into a master race called the Aryan race. According to Theosophy, the Aryan race was a master race that ruled the world from Atlantis some 12,000 years ago; around 10,000 BC. They were one of seven ‘root’ races that man descended from, the originator having lived some 18 million years ago. They are widely believed to be of northern European decent; the Teutonic knights were thought to be offshoots of the fifth race. What is also widely believed is that they possess a far higher intelligence than any other race. This was undoubtedly Hitler’s, as well as many other Nazis and theosophists, incentive to create this master race once more, believing themselves to be of this sacred blood.

This was the justification for Hitler to implement the Final Solution through Heinrich Himmler. This is the whole essence of why racism is so unimaginably wrong. A select few had opinions that the weaker of the race and the people believed not to be of Aryan descent should be preened from society, and millions upon millions of people lost their lives. The idea of  creating a blonde haired, blue-eyed race is beyond belief. Besides the fact that it’s impossible to trace bloodline back 18 million years to a legendary race, which in all likelihood was a myth, genetics don’t work that way either. This is showing the very worst side of racism, how the ignorance of a few can destroy a world.

In the modern-day world, not much has changed. There are those out there who still believe the Aryan race should separate from the rest of the world and create one super-race. The Jewish faith is still as discriminated against because of age-old stereotypes and cultural hatred. Homosexuals are riddled with abuse for a sexual orientation they are born with. Coloured people are stereotyped as thieves and thugs: in many countries they are still treated no better than farm animals. And vice-versa: white people are discriminated against by coloured people. The latest racism is Islamophobia, because of the extremist few who caused atrocities in the name of religion. It’s never-ending.

To change the views that some individuals and cultures harbour would take generation upon generation upon generation. Yet that would be far too optimistic. Some people are far too set in their hatred of anything different to accept and teach the ways of acceptance and understanding: some cultures often uniting together in the hatred of a shared perceived enemy.

Regardless of where you were born, what religion you follow, what colour you are or what sexual orientation you have, you are you. They way you were born is the way you were meant to be, and nothing in the world should make you feel differently about that, the same way that you should embrace all the different cultures around you, and certainly not discriminate against them.

It’s mindless, ignorant bullying. There is no justification for racism, it’s an abomination which destroys lives and cultures.

The only racism I’d like to see is against the racists themselves.

Onward Christian soldier…

Like most my age, I was brought up to believe that, approximately 2000 years ago, the ‘messiah‘ was born. As a child, I never imagined this to actually be true, just another fanciful tale told by my elders to instil discipline and structure to my life, much like any frightening tale such as the bogeyman.

How wrong was I? A total of around one billion people would put me in my place claiming Jesus was truly the son of God, and that to not believe in this would condemn me to an eternity in hell. Which is nice.

Thankfully for these one billion, the days of Jesus’ life were recorded by men, and even tops the bestsellers list. Albeit, as records show, quite some years after he died. And, well, I say his life, they did miss the first 30 years out. But never mind, he was probably still the pure human being everyone portrayed him as, I guess.

It doesn’t take too much reading of the Bible to find the common link with many other religions. The pages are strewn with violence and murder, all sanctioned and justified by one greater than us all. Or perhaps it isn’t murder. After all, the Ten Commandments tells us what not to do. Perhaps it’s the modern-day equivalent of self-defence, as religion surely couldn’t contradict itself on the most important of all rules. Could it?

The one thing any religion does insinuate is that essentially man are a flawed race; corrupted by greed, power, personal desires and money (well politics really). Yet we are asked to put blind faith into age-old scriptures written by men. In a time where politics reigned!

Being brought up in a Christian country, from a young age, this is what we are brought up to believe. Yet if fortunes had placed us 6500 miles to the east, we may well have been Muslim.

The Muslim faith has found itself upon hard times in recent years due to the teachings of Islam. The atrocities of 9/11 and the London and Madrid bombings, highlighted the extremist nature of a select few. Yet is this their fault? If, from a child, they’re brought up with no contradiction to the belief that the killing of others brings eternal glory, how are they to know better? Most days you read of crimes for money, as petty as a few pounds. When the reward is far greater, eternal life (with a few untouched ladies thrown in), to them I’m sure it would be crazy not to.

But it’s not just Muslims. You only had to look at the news last week to see a ‘Christian’ oneman mission in Iraq. Armed with a gun, a Samurai sword and scripture, Gary Brooks Faulkner set out to kill Osama Bin Laden. Who could condemn him? Seeking justice for the murder of thousands of innocent Americans. Well God, apparently.

Still, he isn’t the first and he won’t be the last to use a name to cover up crimes. The same way that execution shouldn’t be covered by the veil of ‘law’.

So what is the real evil here? Is it man? Is it simply extremists?

Or maybe it’s religion itself.