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Shippy's avatar

Do you think that, a person, happy with their belief system would need to attack others?

Asked by Shippy (9870points) November 4th, 2012

I am being very careful how I word this! But it is an interesting point. If you feel comfortable in a belief system, be it a spiritual one or other, would you feel a certain kind of peace?

I find it interesting that lots of people are firm and steadfast in their beliefs but seem very angry at others about it all.

Where do you think the anger comes from? Where is the need to ‘bash’ others for theirs. What do you think?

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24 Answers

amujinx's avatar

Even if you are happy in your belief system, if people are attacking your beliefs and trying to change your beliefs often enough people tend to change their strategies from defending their beliefs into pre-emptive strike in defense of their beliefs. The anger you see usually stems from the frustration that many others refuse to see points made and the frustration of having to defend a belief constantly.

That’s my belief anyway, and I’ll attack you if you disagree.

Shippy's avatar

@amujinx Yes so it seems, for me though, I follow on the basis of ‘attraction’ rather than ‘promotion’. In other words, I think to myself. ’ I want want he/she has and I want it bad’. Those people are rare, the ones that have that factor about them. They have found serenity in that belief.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

From my own experiences at university, where I studied religion along with archaeology, I did encounter some people who even struggled to sit in a lecture and listen about another religion. I actually remember a handful of people quit their entire degree in disgust at being taught about beliefs other than their own.

I think the problem is that they live with blinkers on and they just cannot see how there can ever be an alternative to what they believe and over time this leads to a sense of frustration in some people and it is this frustration that comes out as anger.

The people that I have dealt with seemed to feel that their beliefs were superior to others and in their eyes they were bashing others for being stupid as if they had to save them from their apparent stupidity.

The best people are those who firmly believe in something, but are quite content that others get their own sense of comfort from believing something else. They can talk about their beliefs in a way that is not pushing their views down their throat, but talk like adults whereas in my opinion those that quit in disgust were merely acting like kids.

marinelife's avatar

It depends on what the beliefs are. If the belief system touts itself as the one true way, then the believer may feel the need to convert others.

tom_g's avatar

@Shippy: “Where do you think the anger comes from? Where is the need to ‘bash’ others for theirs.”

Really? Ok, let’s try this…

I believe that women are property, and therefore they are without rights. If a woman talks back, I believe the right thing to do is to beat that woman with a belt. If a woman wants an education, I believe that woman should be blinded by hot coals.

Wait, what? You’re attacking me for my beliefs? But they’re my beliefs. If you are so confident in your beliefs, why would you feel the need to attack mine? Where does this anger come from? Surely you see how intolerant you are being. We all have the rights to our own beliefs. And beliefs should be free from criticism and ridicule, right?

Shippy's avatar

@tom_g That is your belief system, it doesn’t upset me at all. I don’t feel the need to substantiate why, but here in this question I will. I as a woman worked as an executive in a males world for 18 years. I also was one of the top ten consultant in S.Africa. No one offered me education, I funded and sought very hard to get it. I have also funded and looked after a family most of my life. So to me those are like words nothing more. They don’t irk me, or make me want to become aggressive. Possibly because they are almost like rain falling into a puddle in my mind. But yes, I get your point. Thank you.

N.B. I realize too, you may have just used this as an example.

tom_g's avatar

@Shippy – Well, I’m surprised a collection of beliefs like the ones I made up above wouldn’t upset you at all. More to the point, I suppose would be – what if I wasn’t the only one? What if a majority of the people in your country held these beliefs? Would they be something to respected simply because they were a belief system?

Many of us see large, powerful groups of people in the US who hold (what we feel to be) dangerous, destructive, unjustified, immoral beliefs. These beliefs happen to labeled religious and we are told – even by many non-religious – that since these beliefs are religious, they deserve respect. From what I can tell, however, beliefs inform actions. How can beliefs be immune from attack.

We don’t practice this “it’s just a belief that is just as valid as any other” in any other discussion other than religion. We make judgments all time about the validity of beliefs.
Anyway, everything is on the table. To wrap a belief in a protective bubble or claim it has special status isn’t something that is constructive in building a modern society, and it also happens to be something that very few of us actually practice. It’s often a tool used by people who want to keep themselves from having to justify their beliefs.

Shippy's avatar

@tom_g Yep, I lived in South Africa during the apartheid, sex and race were the true indicators of your worth. A simple example, would be at that time, all white males of age 30 were given jobs and better salaries. Now switched around all black males are given this. With tokenism females in certain high positions. On both counts I lost out.

I was for a time, the only female in my industry bar a few. Of course this changed over time. You see I had a belief of my own, I was content in my belief. Also determined. So I acted on that basis, determinism. Plus results. It worked. I am also talking on an individual level here, as I understand group consensus and how they have changed society. I do not rule that out. And anger was its base. Any other than that is bigotry. Which ironically points to a narrow mind.

tom_g's avatar

@Shippy: “So I acted on that basis, determinism.”

But how does that play out other than to point a microscope at all beliefs? This is how change happens, right? It isn’t just you silently holding different beliefs.

Knowing that there is a large part of the population that wants to have control over my daughter’s reproductive freedom, decide who my kids can marry, and remove the science from science education makes me furious. It’s not a matter of being “open minded” about people having all kinds of beliefs. The beliefs of the religious groups who are pushing this crap happen to be unjustified superstition, but this doesn’t anger me. It’s the fact that those crazy beliefs inform their actions and they are trying to do awful things in the name of crazy. It affects me and my children, everyone I know, and simply everyone.

So, when I criticize or mock religion, it isn’t just because it is silly – it’s because the consequences of not doing so are real.

YARNLADY's avatar

Some belief systems require attacks on others as being so wrong they must be destroyed.

wundayatta's avatar

If a person is hurting others, then it is up to you to try to stop them. It really has little to do with how happy you are in your own beliefs. It has to do with doing the right thing to protect others. If a person has beliefs that causes them to hurt others, you must take action to prevent that harm. At some point, I suppose you may have to take up arms, but that should be a last resort. It is best to persuade them to stop hurting others if you can succeed at that.

snowberry's avatar

Have not read the above responses. But IN GENERAL anyone who feels the need to attack someone else’s belief system is grossly egotistical and needs to control others. On top of that, many people like to attack the belief system of others because they were hurt by someone like that in their own past (most likely as a child) and therefore they are taking their revenge on whoever respresents that person from their past.

DWW25921's avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Christian wasting a parking lot full of people with an AK47 to prove a point. I’ve never heard of a Jew taking offense at a bad movie and murdering someones ambassador in the street. I’ve never heard of a Wiccan blowing up a bus full of children to demonstrate their control of an area. I’ve never heard of a Hindu or Buddhist person beating their wives and treating their daughters like cattle.

Why is it always the Muslims? Why are they always so hateful and brutal? Why don’t I get definitive answers when I ask questions like this? Why do we let these people in to our country? It’s a crazy world.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think one can both be at peace with their ideologies and attack that of others because sometimes ideologies are not just about ourselves, they’re about other people. Example: I can understand that gender is fucked up and am at peace with my own gender identity but sexism can still make me want to vomit and it must be attacked whenever it rears its ugly head.

flutherother's avatar

People who are most angry with the beliefs of others are often insecure in their own beliefs. They find that attacking the beliefs of others is easier than examining themselves. They talk in a loud voice and behave in an aggressive way because they feel threatened. It is a kind of paranoia.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Well, if another person believes that everyone else is wrong, stupid, or going to hell for not believing the same thing as they do, that makes me angry, because they are using their belief system to belittle me, or as a reason to think they are superior to me. That pisses me off.

Blackberry's avatar

Some beliefs aren’t so innocuous. Some beliefs need to be criticised because they affect others in a negative way, as stated in above posts already.

We can’t do much about little girls being forced into marriage with 50 year old men, but I’ll bash and criticise the belief system anytime I feel.

Soubresaut's avatar

I feel personally, any insecurities I have in my beliefs only serve to prevent me from assessing/judging others’. But that’s my disposition in general, I crumple and stab inward when I feel brittle or unsure….I’m working on it. So I think I agree with much mentioned above, that people can be very secure with their beliefs, and feel anger towards other ones—that security is when I do let myself get emotional, when I feel I have the ‘credentials’ of sort to judge. Seeing beliefs be perpetuated despite harm I perceive them causing, is painful. (I’m extremely fortunate to have only witnessed, not had to experience.) That’s where most of my distaste at certain beliefs comes from as well: that I can’t understand them, how they’re still seen as more worth than the people they’re apparently diminishing, disfiguring, disregarding.

I always wonder if anger is an effective response, in any situation. And I honestly don’t know—I tend to think it’s generally not. That angry reactions will more likely create a friction between disagreeing people, those with the whatever-that’s-inciting the anger (in this case, beliefs) bristling at perceived personal attacks. Still, anger is a powerful communicator; it’s forceful and loud, the aggression is given attention, the strength of the emotion. I’m perpetually torn. And in my attempts at remaining anger-less, so friction-less, I also find I mostly just settle into a state void of confrontation or challenge to others. There’s a conceptual difference between anger and disrespect, between confrontation and attack, but I’m usually unable to trust myself enough to be able to adequately make that distinction clear in my actions…

I don’t think someone secure in their beliefs would react to disagreeing ones by lashing out at them. But that someone would probably also have the footing to feel they can adequately assess other beliefs—and then it depends on the person (and their beliefs), how they perceive, and how the act.

I know, that many people only attack when they feel attacked.

And I’ve also experienced, much more than attack, people simply unwilling to even try and disagree. So many ‘discussions’ around me in real life seem to be determined at keeping ideas and opinions discrete and separate, so as not to offend anyone or illicit a larger dispute. There’s this strange impermeability; it seems more harmful than simply giving a blanket merit, indistinguishable value, to everything—it keeps them inherently at odds, because they never can truly meet. So how could you compare, except for the invasiveness of attack, verbal weaponry piercing?

SpatzieLover's avatar

No. Attacks are ego driven.

Paradox25's avatar

Some religions, when you look at the basics of what they’re about, actually seem rather gloomy to me. I would say religionists who attack others beliefs probably react out of fear, like fear of an eternal hell or a vengeful god.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I live in a sea of Mormons, and I have noticed that they attack the beliefs of others mostly due to jealousy – they have so many self-inflicted restrictions and resent the fact that others do not.

Shippy's avatar

@DancingMind My thoughts exactly. We are allowed to disagree, but anger? what power is there in anger? Particularly on an individual level. @SpatzieLover agree so much, what actually makes people think they are are justified in their opinion? So much so they have a right to attack, yes attack individuals. Therein I think lies the problems in this world.

tacres's avatar

I stand by the firm belief that what I believe is not going to send you to hell & what you believe is not going to get me into heaven. Presuming of course that either place exists. If they don’t then no harm, no foul. I think that people who get upset on their deity“s behalf or get angry over another person’s belief in a deity are a tad insecure about their own beliefs.

kitszu's avatar

Xenophobia: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign. Fear drives most if not all negative emotions.

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