Saturday, May 2, 2015

Heads, They Win. Tails, We Lose: The Tactic of "Don't Impose Your Beliefs on Others!"


Americans have a funny way of thinking these days. We’re determined that nobody should be allowed to impose their beliefs on others. But when you think about it, there’s one slight problem… this is in itself a belief, and if nobody should should impose beliefs, then nobody should impose this belief. This is a self-contradicting idea that seems more interested giving a selfless appearance while aimed at silencing people they do not agree with.

Nobody ever tells atheists not to impose their beliefs on others. They tell Christians not to impose their beliefs on others. If pressed on this, they might say that Christianity is more harmful than atheism and so atheism need not be pressured to be silent. But… once again this is a belief, and if beliefs should not be imposed on others, then atheists cannot impose their views either.

This idea simply cannot be sustained. Every conscious behavior we do, we do based on the values we hold. Some of these values we hold contradict values held by others. Are we to tell the rapist’s victim not to impose her view on the rapist? No sane person would think of saying such a thing. They would argue that the rapist has no right to the victim’s body. But this way of thinking could leave us with a rapist who says, “don’t force your beliefs on me!” There the person who says “don’t impose your beliefs on me” is suddenly faced with a dilemma: Either abandon the belief or abandon justice.

In other words, we do recognize some moral values as being absolute—we cannot force our wants on another person, but we can insist that all people are obliged to act in a way which is moral and say we cannot act in a way which brings harm to another because it benefits our desires. If we must impose something on others, this imposition must be aimed at protecting the common good. This is why we forbid the drunkard from driving himself home from the bar—this denial of his freedom to drive is based on the public good of safety for others on the road.

The problem is, too many people do not think things through and consider who is harmed. People insist on the “right” to an abortion because it will interfere with their lives—but do not consider the lives of the unborn children who are destroyed by abortion. It is simply assumed that the mother’s convenience outranks the child’s right to exist. Ultimately, this is a case of deciding that my convenience outweighs your existence. 

So, what we have here is a Heads I win, tails you lose situation. We’re bad because we’re “imposing our beliefs on others.” At the same time, they’re imposing beliefs in opposition to Christian belief and pretending that this is not an imposition.

Now of course, we need to be loving and compassionate when sharing our beliefs and teaching the world the way of Our Lord. We can’t bully or coerce people into belief. But we can’t be cowardly and refuse to share our faith with the world. We believe in an objective truth, and that certain behaviors are against what God calls us to be. We have no right to be silent when God calls us to speak.

No comments:

Post a Comment