Been thinking about the fact that people on social media don’t know how religion works.
For example, let’s dip our toes into something controversial: pro life vs pro choice.
Pro choice says “Don’t get an abortion. Or do get one, it’s up to you.” Pro life says no abortions no matter what because you can’t take life, using moral and religious logic.
But it all comes to a boiling point at voting and this is where people choose to ignore what religion is all about.
To pro choice, pro life is taking away autonomy from women. If a pro life bill is passed, there is only one choice instead of multiple.
To pro life, voting a pro choice bill would directly counter their religious and moral beliefs. Thus, there’s no other option but to vote pro life.
See, religion isn’t forcing you to have an opinion. For a lot of religions, the race to The Good Place is a one man marathon and what everyone else does doesn’t matter.
So voting pro life is reinforcing one’s faith, not blocking someone else’s choice. Of course, they end up disrupting the choices anyway and people on social media do not react kindly to that.
Additionally, some religions’ commandments quite literally instruct its followers to spread its ideologies and hopefully convert people. That’s seen as forceful by non-religious folks, even those who encourage “freedom of religion”.
The problem is people on social media pick and choose when being religious is okay, which to them, it isn’t most of the time.
Typically, if social media is “protecting” a religion, it’s because that group has been marginalized or discriminated against in a socially distasteful way, i.e.: racism.
For example, being anti-Muslim is seen as xenophobic and hateful.
But the same social media will bastardize popular religions that have been around forever because it’s socially acceptable to hate them. Faith and/or doctrines are only referential at best (everyone knows who Moses is). Those who actually practice it with no regard for other’s opinions are outcasted at worst. (Or persecuted, depending on location).
Most people have never met someone under the age of 25 who is 100% Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, etc who’s dedicated their entire life to it. The newer generation of religious people are always some form of “new wave”, “unorthodox” or “relaxed”. These religious people are okay because they don’t wanna offend anyone.
If you met a religious person who was 100% in it to win it, you’d hate them for not cradling or assigning value to your opinions. But they’d simultaneously be too kind to hate, so it blurs into guilt and self-induced shame.
In the end, it’s just easier to hate them. Especially from the protection of a screen.
What people on social media fail to realize is that badmouthing actual followers of a religion in the form of a tweet or post achieves nothing. Doctrines literally warn these followers that they’ll be unloved by the majority. They’re not gonna get to The Good Place by being prom queen/king.
Hence, performative believers on social media are not 100% religious. (I’m referring to the rhetoric of being a religiously-aligned politician). They use religion to excuse their agendas instead of promoting their God.
Unfortunately, most people only meet performative believers and think that’s what religion is. They associate disingenuous acts of “holier-than-thou” with policies and practices they personally disagree with.
For better understanding, let’s cover more controversial topics:
- You’re Christian but are pro-carry? You hate human lives.
- You’re Catholic but are pro-life? You hate womens’ rights.
- You’re Muslim but are anti-LGBT? You are a bigot. (In this case, the audience keeps quiet because hating on Muslims makes them look xenophobic. So they target this vitriol at Christianity, which has more white people).
This is what most people on social media think being religious is: hating anyone who isn’t from that religion.
In reality, it’s a follower’s duty to bring people over to their faith, because their God mandates it, not because they hate you specifically. It was never about you. It was always about God.
This leads to a long standing misunderstanding of why religious people do what they do and this confusion creates an easy avenue for hate.