Punishing people for what they believe, especially when it relates to the afterlife, is a really strange thing to do when you think about it. After all, if someone had verifiable, incontrovertible proof of exactly what happens after we die, we would have seen it by now. So asking another person or group to believe exactly what you do, especially under threat of duress or punishment is, to put it bluntly, ridiculous.
According to a recent article I read, more than 300 million Christians around the world experienced very high or extreme levels of persecution and discrimination in 2020. That’s one in eight Christians worldwide.
Some of the best people I know (and consequently some of my favorite people) are practicing Christians. This includes close family members and dear friends. The idea that any of them might experience discrimination because of their beliefs makes my blood boil. The discrimination the article describes is especially loathsome given that it happened during a global pandemic that has made life more challenging for absolutely everyone.
I have experienced a few personal crises over the course of my life and I’ve found that each quickly became a measuring stick for who I am as a person. I’m happy to report that when I faced something that at first appeared to be insurmountable, I found I was able to dig into deep reserves I wasn’t aware I had and come up with solutions and a way forward each time. As a result, I have found those times to be some of my greatest “teachable moments” and I can say I’m a better and more capable person because of them.
There is never any justification whatsoever for discriminating against a person or group based on their beliefs.
People so often show their true colors during challenging times and, for most people, that means finding ways to succeed in spite of any and all barriers. There are countless examples of selfless acts around the world over the course of this challenging, unforgettable year. Thankfully only a small minority of people actually wish ill on others. They can be difficult to spot because they can come in any “form”—attractive or homely, prosperous or destitute, charming or rude—but you will know them by their actions.
There is never any justification whatsoever for discriminating against a person or group based on their beliefs. And I find every time I dig to find the “causes” or “logic” behind such persecution, it never has anything to do with actual beliefs but rather with power and the desire to control and dominate others by any means necessary.
Those who would use faith or any other excuse to harass or harm have no place in decent society. Real power comes from the ability to affect one’s environment and create the outcomes one is seeking. For most, this means uplifting everyone and everything around them in the process. I want to live in a world where those are the people who are validated and supported because they are the ones who will validate and support each other, in spite of—or perhaps even because of—their differences.