February 7, 2006
What is it that motivates people to so wholly believe in something that any slightest insult to the basis of belief provokes extreme reaction? I want to understand.
I am a Christian and those who know me understand the deep conviction I have of God and His love for all. I do truly believe in the fact that He saves, and that He is real.
I therefore emphathise with those whose prophet has been recently ridiculed and put to shame by many. It is not merely an issue of religion, but rather that of scorn and utter contempt made by one party of another. Nobody in their right minds would stay silent in an offense conducted against one they truly love. Paparazzi baring your wife or daughter naked on the newspapers, in compromising positions. Is this the equivalent of how Muslims feel? I don’t know, and I am in no position to judge.
What many papers use as defence: Freedom of speech. Now what exactly is freedom of speech? Or Freedom, for that matter. Are we truly free to do everything and anything we want to as humans? Taking it further, if true, is absolute freedom beneficial to all?
“We have the freedom to do anything we want.” Not True.
We are constrained by laws of nature. Gravity restricts us from floating around in the air. Our bones and joints restrict our arms and legs from moving 360 degrees.
We are constrained by laws of society. We are not free to run naked in the middle of a highway. (You could if you wanted to, but it would cause many accidents and you’d be called in by the police.) We are not free to enter into toilets of the opposite sex in Public Areas.
We are constrained by laws of tolerance. We are not free to beat up someone’s ass just because he is of a different ethnicity, religion or sexual preference.
The truth of the matter is that freedom is granted within a certain jurisdiction. The issue arises when just who is able to decide what sort of and the degree of freedom to be granted.
I therefore believe that freedom is to be propagated but one has to be watchful of what one does. Certain laws, legally transcribed or not, govern the ways in which humanity operates. There is no escaping a reasonable circle of constraint.
Since I postulate that tolerance is a virtue to be practised where possible, I also believe that one ought to be cautious in reacting violently, even when one’s convictions have been severely and ridiculously tested. Being inflamed with anger is one thing; acting upon it in physical hatred is another. Consequences are bound to take place. What is the point of injuring others who have injured you?
This is a tricky situation. Respect for one’s religion, race and culture vs. Freedom of Speech. Despite recent events, I still believe the balance is possible. Very possible.
People just have to take time to understand the others’ motivations and core beliefs.
But perhaps it’s gone past all that. What will we next see unfolding in tomorrow’s news?
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