Take Pride in Your Beliefs

I love a good Gay Pride parade.

The showmanship and the pageantry and the colors and the attitude and everything about it is just so open and fun and feel-good.

And the people! It’s rare to meet someone at a Gay Pride parade who’s just a big downer. Be they gay, straight, somewhere in between, or completely undecided (or uncaring), the vast majority of folks lining the street and taking part in the festivities are smiling and inclusive, inviting everyone to have a good time, bar none.

But then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum. The side that says being gay is wrong and therefore these kinds of parades are wrong and therefore I’m wrong for talking about it.

Wrong wrong wrong. It’s all wrong. Just bad. And you can’t change their mind about it because they know better.

Usually the justification is religion, because there really isn’t a logical explanation for disliking this group of people. This allows people to disapprove and avoid the discussion, because, hey, they can’t help it, their god told them they’re better than this group. They can’t help it. Not their problem. Take it up with the big guy.

This is an easy way out, but a huge morale lapse.

I was going to write out a big argument here about all of the things that people have done in the name of their gods, and how that doesn’t justify their actions, and why it’s silly to choose this one thing to decide to go with religion on when there are so many others things that nobody toes the line with, but that would be giving validation to an idea that I don’t think deserves validation: the idea of shifting responsibility for your own beliefs and actions to someone (or something else).

If you do something, it’s on you to face the consequences, good or bad.

If you adhere to a philosophy, you are responsible for knowing why you hold these ideas dear.

If you are prejudiced against a group (actively or passively), this is your prejudice, no matter what excuse you give for it. If you don’t have a good reason for this (and no, ‘the Bible/Torah/Q’ran tells me so’ is not a good reason, unless you adhere strictly to absolutely everything in the book, in which case you’re far beyond rational argument and I’m not sure how you found yourself on my site), you’re devaluing every other belief you hold to because you’re living the life of a follower, not someone who determines their own destiny.

This may sound harsh, but think about it. We don’t live in a fantasy-land where rain is magical and mysterious, the world is flat, and gods impregnate humans.

We live in a world where robots are exploring space (and vacuuming our floors). We’ve got pocketable mobile devices that allow us to talk to anyone else in the world on a whim, any time of day. We can explain our biology in 1’s and 0’s (or as chemical compositions) and we’re casually building quantum computers on the side.

This is the world we live in, and yet most people don’t realize that we’re all humans first and everything else second?

Looking back, how is it not glaringly obvious that the people who are prejudiced against gays are fighting the same battle as the racists and anti-Semites of the past? We look back at these people (and toward the non-developed areas where they still exist) with a collective grimace and shameful sigh, yet it’s okay to keep doing the same thing so long as it’s aimed at a different group?

That’s absurd.

Whatever your beliefs, make sure you’re not just following along a path because it was blazed by your parents or grandparents or some long dead author of a vaunted old book.

If you aren’t able to give an answer for why you believe something (other than ‘because so-and-so told me to’), it’s time to take a serious look at your life and decide if anything you’re doing is truly your choice, or if you’re just being guided along by those who see you as sheep for their cause.

Update: January 6, 2017

This post takes a more aggressive stance on the topic than I tend to take today, because I don’t think that directly attacking someone’s beliefs is the best way to interact if you want to actually change minds, rather than just hurling insults.

It is frustrating when people fail to recognize the rational imbalance in their perspective, and justify it away using other people as an excuse, but I suppose we’re all prey to such things at some points in our lives, and there are few people, I think, who can claim to adhere to their ideal philosophies one-hundred percent of the time.