I really, really want to believe either side of this messy divide has the best intention. Sadly wanting to believe does not alter reality, which is of course why I blog. It is hard to find clarity or sense in the aftermath of Trumps inauguration, his recent orders further fracturing society in America and the world at a frightening pace. This isn’t a good old fashioned battle between those in red and blue. There are so many shades to this I have to look down and remind myself of where I stand.
There are Christians fearing increased terror on home soil. There are Muslim refugees trying to flee terror on their own home soil. We have Christians and Muslims embracing, mutually protesting both Trump and the terrorists Trump wants to banish at the expense of innocent Muslims. Innocent Muslims that condemn terrorism despite many attacks being justified by the book that guides their daily lives.
A very confusing situation indeed.
As an atheist, I have to tread lightly around the topics of religion. Not because I fear a backlash, more that I can hear ‘Trump supporter!’ whizzing through the heads of those I discuss this mess with. I would love a world in which religion did not play such a colossal role in our daily lives, Trumps tactics however will only fan the flames, even more so with his blatant Christianity. My-religion-is-better-than-yours has no realistic end in sight.
Lets give the President benefit of the doubt for a second and suggest that he has the best intentions. He simply wants to banish terror in his nation. Even if this was the case, his best intentions are irrelevant if the repercussions aren’t positive. A bit like a kid spraying an ant colony with a garden hose because its a hot summers day and the ant will surely appreciate a little cool down. Sometimes, Trump supporters, the best intention can be more damaging without a little rational thinking beforehand. For those protesting his actions, I can relate a little more. Most people are good, of course this includes Muslims. However I cannot fully commit to the sign wielding marches taking place around the world, the closest one for me is a ten minute drive into the city center. Considering I am in Europe, his Presidency is certainly causing a stir.
Religion just agitates me a little too much. I wouldn’t be able to stand alongside someone without playing devils advocate. I fear with increased migration, the levels of religiosity will increase. Polls suggest this is the case, I also talk about this in my post The Changing Face of Britain’s Faith. Why do so many people want to leave warm climates to a much rainier Britain? Well, a better quality of life. Those from underdeveloped nations have more of a reason to cling to religion, the hope and faith it provides for those that need it is of course invaluable. This passion for God doesn’t necessarily cease however after leaving such a nation, meaning there is a higher chance that I will encounter- and have to tolerate- false stories of our origins. The POTUS isn’t creating a country that is desirable for an atheist whilst he does his utmost to keep Islam at bay. A leader bringing his own religious influence into politics is always a damaging move. Religion holds us back. It keeps humanity in it’s infancy, causing fear where there isn’t any and divides which take an incredible long time to get over. We are proud of ourselves when we make effort to overcome our differences, effort that should fill me with pride yet reminds me of how far behind we are.
Reading the comments on a recent protest video, a man posted an image of a church and mosque that shares a wall somewhere in the Middle East. It gathered hundreds of likes, possibly in the thousands by now as he praised humanity for, at least in this case, successfully living next door to one another. This is where we are? We praise adults for acting, erm, maturely? As much as I should promote this behaviour, I feel I would be more likely to give them all a lollipop and a pat on the head.
‘What’s that? You prayed successfully without insulting your neighbours? Good boy, I am sooo pwowd of you!!’ *pinches cheek*
This article boasts of a building that will house a Synagogue, Church and Mosque, all under one roof with the name House of One. Should I clap these worshipers for successfully walking past each other despite the desire to start an inter-religious mosh pit of violence? I would praise my dog for eventually bonding with a new pet cat it wanted to kill for so long, for a human adult to be praised for this is a huge concern.
So, no, I am not pleased with Trump’s current presidential moves. I am sympathetic to Muslims that it has affected, however as I watch the mess we are in, I want to walk out the door to the nearest protest and hold my own sign.
‘Tired of being labeled and having to live with the repercussions of your beliefs? Try atheism.’
Noone should have to change who they are for someone else, but it will make life a damn lot easier for a lot of people and if your religion is contributing to violence underneath a God watching over it all, is it really such a bad suggestion?