In the last two months I have had the same conversation four times with four different people and there seems to be a common misconception. The conversations all involved Canadian teenage pop sensation Justin Beiber and on all four occasions it came out I dislike him (writing this I prepare for a torrent of abuse from adolescents). The problem occurred when my reason for disliking him was revealed, it’s not his mass blatant commercialism (any male who brings out a female perfume has achieved something), his awful lyrics (Eenie Meenie being a prime example), or his ridiculous tattoos. The reason I dislike Justin Beiber is his belief that abortion is “killing a baby” and rape happens for a reason.
Apparently I crossed a line, because his beliefs are religious thus should be respected. Yes I believe in respect; I respect everyone’s right to believe [whatever they like] but I do not have to respect what it is they choose to believe. In the Beibs case I would be mildly uncomfortable with anyone holding his beliefs privately. Alas, though Beiber has a horde of impressionable young girls hanging onto his every word makes such backwards nonsense damn right dangerous. It is for this reason, and this reason alone, I dislike Beiber. I could not care less what his religion or lack thereof is, any excuse for any type of rape is unacceptable in my eyes.
Unsurprisingly, if I were to say I have no respect for Hitler’s beliefs in social Darwinism or even those of the Westboro Baptiste Church (dubbed the most hated family in America) no eyebrows would be raised. Fear of criticising mainstream religious beliefs has lead to a baby dying from herpes in 2012. I am not going to apologise for showing no respect for the religious rituals involved and have no qualms in denouncing it as abhorrent.
I’m going to turn to the tweets of Ricky Gervais to fully illustrate my point, here are a few select examples:
Everyone has the right to believe in anything they want. And everyone else has the right to find it fucking ridiculous.
“We have to stop this recent culture of people telling us they’re offended and expecting us to give a fuck.”
“How great is that Gandhi quote?
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ”
The last seems particularly apt in the Beiber case. Respect is something that is earned, not an entitlement. Alongside Mr Gervais Twitter has recently gained another religion tweeting behemoth in the shape of his Holiness the Pope. As a matter of personal opinion I have no respect for a man and religion whose idea of joining the twenty first century is to start microblogging after covering up centuries of child abuse, continuing to condemn homosexuals to the pits of hell and proliferating Africa’s aids crisis (don’t even get me started on the crusades, Spanish inquisition or the years of scientific oppression).
I fully respect the right to believe whatever you like (millennia of religious persecution and genocide has generally shown this is a good idea). However if you believe something completely loopy I will probably not give you the time of day. Personally I like to believe the following:
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
– Marcus Aurelius
Feel free to disagree.