Focusing On the Individual Instead of the Belief System

Over the past few days there have been a number of eye-opening reports coming out of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding the 301 ‘Predator Priests’ named in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Sex Abuse Report. This has obviously shaken the religious for sure, as they scramble to find answers to their newly found doubt in the organizations in which they have dedicated their lives. On the flip side of the coin, the report has exacerbated the Anti-Religious to shriek about how religion is bad, and these people are only pushing their false piousness upon the rest of the world, while turning a blind eye to their own community. To the Anti-Religious (of which I am a fringe member of, but not card carrying), I would implore you to throttle back on the vitriolic bile you are spewing about how Christians are more dangerous than whatever group your sub-sect of the Anti-Religious chooses to defend on a daily basis from the hateful rhetoric of your opposition.

Yes, the report was insanely angering. As I read through the reports and continued to imagine (against my will) what it was like for the countless number of children who had been groomed by these priests for abuse, I felt the rage many of you felt while reading the same reports. The second saddest thought I had while reading these pages, obviously after the thought of the children, was that many people in the world would find some sort of sick glee in this report because it would only serve as further evidence that the Catholic Church was filled with molesters and pedophiles, and not the saints they are revered as in their church.

This thinking is the same sort of thinking emitted by the factions of anti-Muslim groups who think all Muslims deserve to die, and their fails to be a good one of them in the rather large group of 1.6 Billion. Yes, there are a large number of Islamic terrorists, but the percentage of them in comparison to the 1.6B is probably somewhere on par to the number of pedophiles in the Catholic Church in comparison to the 1.2B Catholics in the world. To run out there and quickly call for the condemnation of every member of the group, either one of them, because of the vocal, evil minority is not only ignorant of the numbers, but forgetful of the arguments you pose when defending often attacked and hated upon groups of society.

For every child-molesting Catholic priest you have 10 Tom Woods out there, fighting to make the world a better place and never yielding to the never ending onslaught of those attacking his character because of his beliefs. For every Islamic terrorist you have 10 Mohammed Shakers who, while crazy (he’s one of my great friends, and I love the guy) is one of the most dedicated and caring individuals in the world who would quickly say that members of the Muslim community need to start policing their own in order to change the perception the world has about the entire religion. For every crazy atheist who burns down a church, you have multiple atheists who just want to point out that religion is not necessary to be a good and caring person. For every agnostic in the world who does something awful (I honestly couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head), you have many people like me, who are more famous and popular in their own heads than in the real world but attempt to use that hubris to change the world for the better, not using or condoning violence against your enemies, except as a last resort.

Every single group of people, no matter the sub-sect, has someone, or a group of people, who have done something completely horrendous. This includes Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Christians, Muslims, Catholics, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Soldiers, Marines, Policemen, teachers, members of the gay, lesbian and trans community and a literal ton of other examples. To state all of the members of these groups are evil because of the actions of a few is some sort of backwards tribalism, where you are choosing to lump people together because of one thing, without taking the individual into consideration.

Each and every one of us has the ability to be the person we want to be at the end of the day. If we want to be an evil person, and do disturbing things, that is fine, we will just have to deal with the consequences of our actions. If we want to do good, and attempt to make the world a better place through our work and our words we have the choice to do so.

When people look at you, do they see you as whatever sub-sect of society you choose to subscribe to, or do they know you as Steve? Or Anne? Or Mark? Or whatever your name is. I highly doubt anyone (besides my dad) sees me at Matt the agnostic libertarian when they see me. They look at me and they see Matt, and sometimes they see Matt; the crazy ass libertarian.

We as a people have evolved past this tribalism think, where we lump all people into one group just based on which god they believe in, who signs their paychecks, or who they find to love. Yet, with every fear mongering news story that comes out across all of the mainstream media channels there is a group being vilified by another, while being defended by others. There has to be some sort of cohesiveness in the way we view these groups. One cannot attack entire groups, such as the Muslims, but then turn around and defend the Catholic Church with the words, “it’s only a small portion of them that are bad.” Just as someone cannot vilify the Catholics, while talking about how not all members of the Islamic faith are terrorists. The fact is this is the case in pretty much 100% of the examples. Instead of seeing these groups as one, look at them as a number of individuals and there are certain members who need to be reprimanded for their actions…

…except for maybe communists.

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