This week, young Sikhs created a video, in response to the shooting at a Sikh temple Sunday, asking people to become educated and stop the hate in reaction to the deadly violence that happened at their temple this past Sunday.
I use to think that churches and other religious places were safe houses, but they are not. One cannot go to a Lutheran Church, after Dr. George Tiller was shot, and feel safe any longer and now Sikhs do not feel safe in their temples.
Similarly, women cannot get health care services at a women’s clinic without feeling their lives are in danger. At the same time, laws against women getting health care, including an abortion or contraceptive services, are passed right and left, as Republicans and religious authorities fight against women’s health care. Some women are even punished for becoming pregnant. These stories the writers on God Discussion wrote about many times in the past few years, especially in the last several months, and if one does an onsite search, they can find many such stories.
Not to mention, the very people who say they love others because God loves them, or whatever statement they can dream up, hatefully fight against gays rights, marriage equally, and even against the president. Again, there are many stories of pastors encouraging their congregation to hate gays, which often ends up in violence.
After the violence, Christians, such as Pat Robertson, try to blame atheists for the violence, when in reality, it turns out some extremist, who is not an atheist, committed the deadly violence.
The more ministers encourage hatred, the more violence there is, and I look at these videos, in which young people are obviously in emotional pain from the violence and plead for the hate and violence to stop, I want to cry. I find it painful to see people in so much pain.
I do not understand how people can be so hateful that they kill nor can I fathom those who hate so much, capable of loving themselves. They hate people because some people are gay, of a different religion, or not a believer. They practice misogyny and are homophobic, as well as phobic of those who view the world differently from them. They hate and fear a real education and science, favouring superstitious beliefs. They hate liberals and politicians who side with liberals. Those who hate that much are enslaved to fear, incapable of living a reasoned and compassionate life.
The list of everything some people hate continues until someone gets severely and permanently harmed or dies. Such crimes against humanity are painfully horrific, yet individuals continue to harm or kill others. When are we, as a society, going to learn that hate and violence solve nothing?
Until last Sunday, we rarely heard about Sikhs living in the United States. They are rarely in the news, if ever, and most people know very little about their religion, assuming, based on their appearance, that they were Muslims.
So many people refuse to learn about other religions, staying in their little bubble of like thinkers, for fear that God will punish them or the devil will destroy their faith if they learn anything but their own religion. I even remember my mother saying that if I went to a university, instead of a Christian College, I would lose my faith, which I never actually had or at least not as she did.
However, just because you study a religion, does not mean you must believe it. In fact, like folk tales, one does not need to believe in a god to extract some meaningful saying from a variety of religious and mythological texts. Even as a Secular person, who is godless, I can find various sayings from Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Sikh and even Christian texts that I apply to my life, without developing a god concept.[pullquote]"I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We're still just a child creature, we're still being nasty to each other. And all children go through those phases. We're growing up, we're moving into adolescence now. When we grow up – man, we're going to be something!" ~ Gene Roddenberry[/pullquote]
The thing is, my education was invaluable. I have always been fascinated in learning everything I could about a given subject, including about other religions and worldviews. Incidentally, my idea of secularism, with a lower case, is one that is all-inclusive, without imposing a particular view on others. Such secularism does not discriminate based on skin colour, worldview, gender, sexual orientation, age, or economic status. One either chooses or earns their role in society, as we strive to better ourselves and society. Their role in society is not based on gender, worldview, sexual orientation, or skin colour. This, of course, is based on the humanistic philosophy, which is secular. It is compassionate and gives a person freedom, without mental or physical harm.
Resources, such as health care, food, water, education, and all other basic human needs and rights, are shared, with reason and compassion, instead of distributed by the amount of wealth one possesses, and without a violently abhorrent fear of Socialism. However, and all too often, much of the time the distribution of wealth goes to the rich and taken from the poor, much like our tax system, which can also trigger violence.
Unfortunately, our society has become so phobic, superstitious, and fearful of others and sharing resources, that some people become violently hateful of those who are different in some way, which makes no sense to me. Then others try to put the blame on some human created deity, just so they do not have to take responsibility for their actions.
All the hatred and violence, for religious reasons, phobia, or superstitions, are insane and the young people in this video are right. People really do need to educate themselves, treat everyone like human beings, using reason and compassion, and stop the hateful violence.
However, I think Roddenberry was right. We are a child creature, in our adolescence, but when we finally grow up, we might just be something great, if we can stop acting more like than children then children do.
Until then, we may see more painful violence and many videos, like the young Sikh men created, pleading with us to stop the hate and violence against each other, as they share their views concerning how we should treat others.