Another Stoning Brought To You By Religion

A member of the Taliban's religious police beating an Afghan woman in Kabul on August 26, 2001

A member of the Taliban’s religious police beating an Afghan woman in Kabul on August 26, 2001

While religious folks continue to demand respect for their religion and label anyone who disagrees with their archaic version of ethics ‘Islamophobes’ or ‘God haters’ in an attempt to shut them up, the ‘sacred texts’ that belong to these religions and many of its followers continue to teach people how to hate and stone women.

People are expected to add in the caveat that not all religious people are women-hating, sexist a-holes, and of course that’s true. It’s also true that most religious people ignore large swaths of their ‘holy books’ (or make excuses for it so they can rationalize its barbarity) and peacefully practice their religion without ever hefting a stone or engaging in any other sorts of violence.

However, it’s also true, I think, that these religions teach (or have the ability to easily teach) this sort of behavior. Often, when violent verses are pointed out to believers, they claim that it’s taken out of context, and the non-believer must try to understand the time period, or some other such nonsense.

I’m not aware of any context or time period that makes stoning women, rape or genocide ethically sound. I don’t need to understand some secret context or be a history major to understand that these practices are barbaric and should be opposed at every opportunity.

Yet, because these disgusting passages are religious in nature, we’re told that their teachings are to be endured and we’re angry militants if we point out how bad these ideas are. We’re either shamed or forcefully made to stay silent, while around 1000 women are killed in ‘honor killings’ each year in Pakistan alone. We’re made to pretend (or socially pressured by society into thinking) that these practices and biases have nothing to do with religious teachings, but are solely the responsibility of the evil individual who carries them out.

Of course society, indoctrination and religious teachings contribute to the problem.

There were probably a majority of good Incas when that civilization flourished. Most Incas probably did their best to follow the laws, loved their families and did their best to get by each and every day – just like most people do today.

However, that doesn’t mean they also didn’t sacrifice children sometimes because they believed their gods demanded it. Should we argue that the majority of good Incas excuse the bad ideas of a religion that taught the populace that ritual sacrifice is okay? Should we pretend that the Inca religion played no part in the behavior of its followers?

When religious people do good things, they often credit their religious beliefs or their belief in god, but when someone does something horrendous in the name of their religion, they aren’t ‘true Christians’ or ‘true Muslims’.

They are! They’re just as much a Christian or Muslim as the peaceful people who belong to those religions are. The difference is that they take their scripture literally. When the bible or the Qur’an demand people stone women, these people take it to mean we should stone women. When their holy texts say we should kill apostates or homosexuals, they take it literally and want to follow the will of their God.

Others might ignore the killing part, but they believe such people are abominations or that they’re not following the will of their God. Others ignore it or rationalize it away so that they don’t have to follow their holy texts when it comes to things they find abhorrent.

For example, many Christians fight to put the Ten Commandments on courthouse lawns. They’ll say the country would be better off if we lived by those commandments. What they either don’t know or ignore, is that those commandments violate the constitution and basic human rights by demanding we worship one specific deity. They also don’t know or ignore the consequences for disobeying those commandments – the penalty is often death by stoning.

In the modern era, it baffles me that we continue to support and fund these ancient, mythological, harmful religions. Why do we as a species find it so hard to confront these bad ideas, learn from them what we can, and move on and improve upon them? Why do we continue to excuse these bad ideas and pretend they have no impact on behavior, when they clearly do.

Because there are good people in any given ideological group doesn’t mean the ideology they practice and spread is either true or beneficial to society.

So in Pakistan, another woman was stoned for marrying someone she loved. She was murdered by her own family and she won’t be the last, while the rest of us sit silently by and make excuses for the harmful ideas that make this sort of outrage virtually commonplace. These ancient religions come from a time when women were thought of as property. They were sold by their fathers, and had very few rights. Taken literally, this is often the attitude these religions pass on.

Women aren’t property. They are human beings. Despite what religions often teach, women have every bit as much right to freedom as a male. Women aren’t worth any less than a male. Women don’t deserve to be raped or killed. Women don’t have to submit to being baby factories, and they shouldn’t have to submit to their father or husband.

Let’s work towards those ideals instead of these ones:

Her father, two brothers and former fiance were among the attackers, he said. Iqbal suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital, police said.

All the suspects except her father escaped. He admitted killing his daughter, Cheema said, and explained it was a matter of honor. Many Pakistani families think a woman marrying her own choice of man brings dishonor on the family.

Iqbal had been engaged to her cousin but married another man, Cheema said. Her family registered a kidnapping case against him but Iqbal had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will, he said.

If the video below doesn’t spark some outrage inside you, I don’t know what will.

 

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9 Comments

  1. That was an excellent read, Mr Moore. Thanks

    I think in the same line as yourself. And I believe that the biblical texts should be exposed for what it is. Hatred. Hatred, for the acquisition of wealth and control over the populace.
    It is written by people that were not inspired by any divinity whatsoever, because if they had been, I doubt that said forgiving deity would call for the death of innocence with little to no indifference from that of their own family’s ideology.

    Their religious teachings of hatred must come to an end.

    Nice blog btw

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