Some variations of belief attempt to stifle and oppress with a mixture of threats within a climate of fear, not just with abstract untrue ideas of being burned by a vengeful god in a next life, but also by motivating believers to strike out against those that fall out of line in this life.
Gods don’t kill people. People with Gods kill people. –(Generally attributed to David Viaene)
In this specific instance I’m not specifically thinking of Christianity but rather of Islam, a belief where Misogyny and Homophobia often thrive as virtues to be nourished and encouraged.
It is true that beliefs do also inspire and motivate, so some do soar and give expression via poetry and art within the narrow confines, but the forceful imposition by a belief of a very narrow list of acceptable modes of behaviour also greatly stifles the human spirit … and yet all that is human cannot be bottled up and so new ways to give expression will burst forth in ways that are a complete surprise.
Radio Free Europe reports what is now happening in Iran, a place where Islam dictates that women must cover themselves up with a Hijab, apparently some women have been taking selfies of themselves out in public with (gasp!) no Hijab …
An unveiled young woman stands in front of a sign that reads: “Sisters, observe your hijab.” Another with red hair and dark glasses stands next to the ruins of Persepolis, while two others, also sans hijab, dance happily on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
They are among dozens of Iranian women inside the country who have posted their hijab-less photos on a newly launched Facebook page to share their “stealthy” moments of freedom from the veil.
The administrators of the page, titled “Iranian Women’s Freedoms Stealthy,” say they do not belong to any political group and that the initiative reflects the concerns of Iranian women who face legal and social restrictions.
Here is one, where the caption reads … “To those who say I should leave the country if I don’t want to wear the hijab, I say the hijab wasn’t my choice. I want to have freedom in my country.” …
The page is the brainchild of exiled Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, who says she’s receiving scores of unveiled photos of young and old Iranian women who want to share their brief moments of freedom from the hijab with others
Page administrators say all of the photos and captions posted have been sent by women from all over Iran. Launched on May 3, the page has already garnered more than 107,000 likes.
Over in Saudi Arabia atheists are busy finding ways to keep their heads down (least it be chopped off for daring to not believe) and yet also finding ways of expressing what they really think …
Twitter profiles dedicated to atheism in Arabic have large followings—the Twitter handle @Atheistguide has more than 30,000 followers, primarily from the Middle East. In the last month alone, the hashtag #Atheist in Arabic was tweeted more than 70,000 times.
When Saudi Arabia issued a decree criminalizing the practice of atheism this month, it sparked a blasphemous campaign in response. The hashtag#CampaigntoTearTheQuraninSaudiArabia was tweeted more than 7,800 times in the span of a week, circulating images of protest.
The attempts to stifle human expression and herd humans by force and threats into one narrow political or religious belief is destined to fail. In all of human history the various attempts to do this have failed, humanity will not be bottled up like that and will always find ways to rise above it all.
I’m not suggesting that the beliefs themselves will fade, we have always been prone to embracing irrational beliefs, but rather that the inevitable outcome here is that the very strict variations of Islamic belief will evolve and change into less rigid and more tolerant variations just as Christianity has.