This week we were posed with the question: “are we really all equal?”. These are my thoughts on this matter and how it affects the way I live.
Immediately after reading the material for this week, I agreed that we are all equal, I have never had any doubt about that growing up. But I quickly thought about what my religion says about equality, because this is where I get my moral code from and I realized that equality has been a huge struggle in the world, especially in the church. Again, my faith is being challenged, I have been forced to really dig deeper into these issues and have come to these conclusions:
1. We are all equal.
After all, we all form part of the same species, the human race. Our similarities outweigh our differences by far. We all have the same basic physiological and anatomical structures and functions, that is part of what defines as as a human. If we can agree that we are all human (which I think is easy for most people to do), then why can’t we agree that there is no such thing as a superior or inferior group of humans?
I think one of the biggest reasons is this: humans don’t really like differences. We always seem to point out everything that is wrong, or different or strange, but we hardly ever focus on what unites us and what makes us similar. As soon as you start focusing on the differences you start putting people into groups, to try separate the people that might look, feel, orientate themselves differently. We do this to try make some sense of the of the expansive human race. But a problem arises when doing so, that each group now feels and knows that they are different and will express this, usually outwardly and openly, in order to make themselves come across as superior. “Because that group deserves all the recognition for being great human beings, and all the other groups should feel ashamed that they were not born to look, feel and orientate themselves like that group.” Thus a war begins, white people became racist towards black people, people became homophobic, people started killing others because they didn’t belong to the same religion…. And so the story goes. It’s so sad that this happens. It really breaks my heart to see this happening.
It’s impossible for me to believe that God would condemn us because of a certain way we were born. I would have to agree with Desmond Tutu who said he would rather go to hell than worship a homophobic, racist, discriminatory God. Our society should be one that allows people to be free to be who God made them to be. And I believe God made every one of us, as different as we are.
2. Most people misread the bible
This is true, especially for religious people. I think most of us are guilty of this, I know I am. I think this could answer one of Michael Rowe’s comments on my previous posts, which you can read here. He says this: “there’s a lot of evidence for people doing horrific things to each other in God’s name (think about the Middle East, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, 9/11). I could probably make a good argument that belief in a personal God actually predisposes one to acts of inhumanity”.
I have heard so many Atheists and non-Christians who take a quote from the bible and use it very cleverly to prove a point. This often works out in their favor because they have mastered an art of arguing. And, many people who believe in a God, do exactly the same thing. They take something out of context, or only part of a verse and they use it to prove a point, which can be taken to an extreme (ex: 9/11, the Spanish Inquisition, etc.)
A simple example of this can be found in the discrimination in gay and lesbian people. If you look in the bible, you will find this verse: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22. There are a few like it in the bible. Looking at this verse, most people make the conclusion that being gay is evil and should be punished. But, we fail to look at the context in which it was written and the people it was written to and the reasons behind what was said. Once we take the time to understand these things, the meaning of the verse changes quite substantially. Here is a nice explanation on what the bible says about homosexuality. What the video is trying to get across is that the word “abomination” had a different meaning in the time it was written. Many words have different meanings nowadays as compared to a few centuries ago. A male in bed with another male was seen as wrong in that time because they could not produce any children and their population was dying out. People were in dire need to increase the numbers of their population, two people of the same gender being together just did not help the huge problem they faced.
I think there is a right and a wrong ways to go about reading the bible. There is no one right way and there is no one wrong way.
So, what I’m trying to get across is that religion has failed at times to “practice what they preach” and at times gotten things wrong. And I’m sad this has happens, but we are humans, and humans are not perfect.
Lastly, 3. I try my best to treat people equally.
Because I know that we are all humans, I strive for equality, in all aspects of my life. Once again, you cannot just treat your patients equally because its in our code of conduct and then go ahead and discriminate others when you are not at work. That is hypocritical. Qualities such as empathy, love and compassion as well as our moral code and equality needs to be genuine. They cannot come halfheartedly. They need to be practiced in your every day life, with all the people you come across. It should not just be switched on when you feel its the right time to.
I realize what a challenge I’ve given myself, and I challenge you too. It is not easy, its difficult to resist our desire to label people. I need to constantly remove the labels I’ve given people, and open my mind. I want to enjoy our differences.
BUT, one thing I would like to add, is that equality for all does not diminish corrective actions for immoral actions. In fact, I think it emphasizes it. When a person does an immoral thing, it should be dealt with appropriately in order for justice to be served and to emphasize the importance of treating everybody equally.
I apologize for such a long post, but I felt it important to say all of this 🙂