How have we come to this?

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It’s always the same. After a weekend, comes a Monday. There is nothing for it. This weekend, however, has been more tragic than most and Monday is almost welcome. The deaths and wounds (both physical and psychological) suffered in Orlando are yet another sign of the current state of humanity. What does it say about the human race? Will we look back on this in a few hundred years and think “how crazy were things in the past”, the way we think now about the Inquisition and slavery (even though slavery still exists, but I’d say we all push that to a few hundred years ago in our heads)?

They say the perpetrator pledged allegiance to ISIL (The Telegraph) when calling 911. I can only imagine doing this was the only reason he called 911. The threat of terror is more present than ever since ISIL made an appearance. I feel that way because it seems that right about anybody can turn around and declare that they support them and take action on their behalf. This man, the shooter, was obviously homophobic and used religion as a reason for his actions. Now, it appears to me that, were a god to exist, and if he/she was the creator of everything there is on Earth (and the Universe), he would accept homosexuality as part of his creation and love it as much as he loves everything else. Wouldn’t he?

The shooter’s father, who seems to think in a similar way bout homosexuals as his son, said however that “gays should be punished by God” and not those on Earth (The Telegraph). I suppose, if you are going to be homophobic, that’s the best stance to take. “Sure, God doesn’t like Gays, but let him deal with it himself”. And doesn’t that make sense if we consider religion’s standing on suicide? It’s for God to take your life, not you, so why should you have the power to punish somebody for their (perceived) sins when this is really god’s job?

All of this is rhetorical, though. I don’t believe any god exists. It would be too cruel. I am very much with Stephen Fry on his interview in RTE last year.

I have no issues with people believing in one or more gods and I know that religion is of help to many people. The issue I have is when people feel the need to convince me, to convert me to their beliefs.

Why?

Isn’t it enough for them to believe and rest in the peace of mind that there is a life after death, that God forgives all, etc etc?

Why do they feel the need to come to my door and tell me what to believe? Furthermore, why do they take this so far as to walk into a room full of people and shoot at them because of who they love? Isn’t religion meant to stand for everything that’s good? Yet religion is constantly used as an excuse for violence and destruction. For centuries now, religion has been the cause of countless conflicts, or was it the excuse. “I don’t like Jews, I shall destroy them. Ah! I’ll use religion!”, “I don’t like gays, I shall destroy them. Ah! Religion!” “I don’t like muslims, what should I do? Ah! Religion!” Whether it was the Nazis, now ISIL or the Crusades, there was religion to back them all up.

For all of what religion tried to be, like most things, it has been corrupted by humans. Monotheist religions eliminated pagan religions because of their barbaric ceremonies that involved blood and sacrifice from the 4th Century CE onwards. Now, over 1500 years later, people are being killed in the name of those same, unique, gods. This is what humans make of an idea that was supposed to help. Because don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame religion, I blame the people that wield it.

And that is it, isn’t it? Religion has become the new weapon of mass destruction to wield against anything and everything we don’t like. And what weapon, what shield, can you use against it without binning your personal freedom of religion, of sexuality, of thought? How do you protect yourself from what’s in people’s mind?

I think the bottom line is as follows. You can believe anything you want, love anybody you want, even hate anything you want, as long as it doesn’t step on anybody else’s freedom. That man could have perfectly hated homosexuals his whole life without any need to hurt them in any way, yet he decided the time had come to take action, just because of that one label relating to who they love.

And maybe labels hurt us more than they help us. If we insisted in the label “human” instead of homosexual, heterosexual, white, black, latino, fat, skinny, tall, short… or whatever label we like to stick on ourselves, there would be less of a reason for anybody to hate anybody. Because there would be no sentence such as “I hate humans!” because that would simply be everybody. “What humans?” “Those humans!” “Why? They’re only humans.”

But that’s probably naive. In our constant search for individuality, labels are the only thing we can do to identify ourselves as unique, or at least unique-r than if we’re just humans. Who would we be, in the sea of seven billion people that floods the world?

Well, this is who I am: I am Caroline Corpas-Neale, and I am a human being. Today I shed my tears for those 50 humans who lost their lives needlessly and the 53 humans injured. I also shed my tears for the future of humanity and what our children will have to endure as part of it.

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