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"Against Their Religion" or "Wrong"?

Ville Kokko

Posted on July 11, 2018 12:23

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Why do some people try to impose their own beliefs on others? That's really the wrong question to ask. For most people, when something is wrong "according to their religion," it's also just wrong, period.

Why don't people whose religious or other similar convictions are against something, like same-sex marriage, just keep it to themselves? Why do they insist on trying to make others conform to their beliefs as well?

The answer, as far as I can see, is depressingly simple.

They don't actually think it's just their religion (or whatever). They think it's wrong. And one does not allow morally wrong things to be done just because someone else thinks it's okay.

In a society with a variety of cultures, including different religions, everyone has to get used to dealing with people who don't take the same things for granted as they do. Someone's version of their religion might forbid X, and among people of the same group, it's taken for granted you shouldn't do X. But outside that group, the person can't just act shocked at the suggestion of doing X and expect to be understood. Hence the classic explanation: "It's against my religion."

But that doesn't mean people with different values will think of them as arbitrary peculiarities of their own traditions. Sure, some will notice that since there are different traditions, that maybe what their own says is not the final truth about everything. And some traditions have the nature of really only applying to one's own group; I have heard that Judaism's rules of conduct are like this.

But in many cases, people still think some things are simply wrong, and if it's their religion saying so, that just means it's stated on the highest possible authority.

In such cases, though the people may or may not explain their views in the weaker terms of "my religious convictions," they'll see such things as objective moral requirements or prohibitions, not just tradition or opinion. The rest of the world won't agree because they don't share the same beliefs about the authority of that tradition. But that doesn't change the fact of how the group itself ultimately sees the matter.

So really, though what they do is wrong, people such as Christian conservatives opposing same-sex marriage are not wrong in opposing what they see as being wrong. It's right to oppose that which is morally wrong, and someone opposing an actual wrong thing would have my support.

They are wrong in seeing that thing as morally wrong in the first place; they're wrong in thinking their tradition is reliable and has such moral authority, wrong in thinking something can be morally wrong that harms no concerned party, wrong in their beliefs about what homosexuality is. But they do not think what they're imposing on others is just their personal religious view. (In that too, of course, they are wrong.) So they do not need to think it's all right to force one's personal religious views on others. The answer to why they try to do it is that they think they're doing something else.

Ville Kokko

Posted on July 11, 2018 12:23

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Source: HuffPost

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