Opinion: Does fanaticism have a future?

Sanjana Iyer is a sophomore fashion merchandising major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected].

Sanjana Iyer

We are made painfully aware of various forms of injustice and religious discrimination taking place in the world through news and social outlets we use on a daily basis. More often than not, we worry about the future of mankind and religion.

Over the last five centuries, the world has undergone a series of wars, oppressions and revolutions. Some of them have been in the name of religion and some of them have been for other reasons.

But as globalization continues to grow, most of us are given a chance to interact and connect with various people from across the world of different religions and social backgrounds.

The depth of our knowledge is also growing, and we learn more about where they are coming from and their religious and spiritual beliefs, thus we broaden our own horizons.

Many of the newer generations of this world have multicultural values. Sure, there are fanatics that exist everywhere — even within our own circles — who try to shove their religious beliefs into our faces every chance they get.

But the bigger picture here is that as time passes, and the world progresses, religious fanaticism will cease to exist — it is inevitable. What we see now are remnants of preconceived notions that are completely outdated.

As we connect more and more to other values and learn more about other cultures and religions, we start reorienting our own beliefs. This is what I consider freedom — having the ability to shape our own spiritual beliefs by what we have learned, by what resonates with us individually and being able to choose to practice exactly that.

This is the biggest sign of progress, assuring us that this world, in fact, is not just an arena for war and discrimination.

Globalization cannot be stopped. It’s here to stay and will continue to grow; as a result, the survival of social issues such as xenophobia and ethnocentrism is completely impossible.  This is the broader perspective, or the bigger picture.

How much longer can a small household continue to culturally discriminate against people from other nationalities and religions, when eventually, the entire neighborhood will be filled with multicultural people?

Last month, Kent State students protested the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, coming together from different nationalities and social backgrounds to protest discrimination based on sexual orientation. That is what I call a sign of progress.

Members of this church wanted to make it a religious issue, but they did not succeed in doing so. The reason for this is the progress of society.

In the future, there may be other pestering members of society who try their best to force their religious beliefs upon anybody who cares enough to listen.

But in the long run, this kind of fanaticism is a dead-end road. I encourage everyone to give society a chance. The world is slowly, but surely, coming together as a whole, and this is the inevitable.