Monday, 11 May 2015

My Political and Religious Views.

My Political and Religious Views

I was baptized, I Confessed, I made my Holy Communion, was confirmed, attended two Catholic Primary schools, attended Catholic Grammar school for 7 years  and at one stage I was even an altar boy. A true Catholic upbringing in Northern Ireland. People considering this might wonder how did I end up fiscally conservative, socially liberal, a unionist and agnostic?
Part One: My Philosophy of Religion
Religion, philosophy and politics have always intrigued me, when I was only 3 years old my mum recalls me asking “If God created everything, then why did he create the devil?”,I assure you she was quite shocked as this is not something you would expect a normal three year old to be asking or thinking about. This has always been a problem for me, I constantly question everything.
Although I had began scrutinizing religion, religion is nevertheless ingrained upon you when you attend Catholic school.  There is a nativity play every year, all the songs you sing in the choir are religious and your sacraments are made in school as well. Children of course want to stay part of Catholicism then, it is peer pressure; they feel left out if they aren't making their Holy Communion. On top of this you get to wear a fancy dress/suit, get lots of money and a massive party is thrown for you. The attention is all on you and you are constantly reminded of how proud people are of you for eating this man’s body. Then at confirmation you are told that you are an adult in the church now, and children love being approved by adults and been made feel that they are one, it makes them feel mature.
Apologies for the “rant” but this, what I just recalled, is the biggest problem I have with organized religion. I do not have a problem with theists, but what I do not agree with indoctrination, and that is what happens in Catholicism and many other religious practices. If you still belief in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy you should  not in my eyes be making religious sacraments; if you are not deemed old enough by the government to vote, you should not be allowed to be heavily involved in religion which then often has a heavy influence on a person’s political views.
My second problem with organized religion is  people using their religion to judge people. I do believe however this is due to misinterpretation of  scripture. I studied religion up until A-level and not to my teachers and some Christians in my class amusement I got an A (no a* available in 2009). My understanding of the New Testament is that Jesus came back to correct the ways of the Jews. The kingdom of God was not to be a subversive sect, God loved everyone, everyone was a sinner and no one was to judge apart from God. This is taught in many of Jesus’ parables and teachings for example the parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10-25-37 which teaches that we should love everyone and not judge anyone on regards to their socioeconomic background and John 8:7 “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” which indicates that you should only judge other people if you are morally perfect.

However since Christianity's beginnings, it has been used tirelessly as a reason for prejudice and to discriminate, whether it  be against outspoken women in the 17th century witch hunts, or to impose what is arguably homophobic legislation in Northern Ireland in 2015. On top of this, the amount of murders taken in the name of religion is paramount in comparison to those taken by any governmental institution. This is why I find it ironic when  Republicans or Nationalists who tend to be Irish Catholics do not support the British Government due to the amount of deaths caused during the troubles, however if you look at the history of the Catholic Church, it is in no way on a moral high ground when it comes to murders taken in its name.


My third issue is to do with morality. I do not believe there is a need for religion in order to be moral. I argue similarly to Kant that morality is innate. We know what is right and wrong, due to knowing how we would like to be treated. I am aware if I punch a person that it will be sore thus I know it is wrong. I do not need a God to tell me this. This is were I have the problem (which is more of a conundrum), that if you are only being a good person because you are scared you are going to hell or be punished by some sort of karma, is this behavior authentic? Or are you just being moral for your own personal gain or fear? If you are scared of going to hell, I find it quite difficult to believe a person's kindness is authentic.  I believe you shouldn't be moral because of fear or because you are going to be rewarded, but because you are rational human being and are aware that it is ethical.

Part 2: Political Views

In politics I tend to consider what is happening now and what I think would be best for people now in the present situation. This is why the political history of Northern Ireland(while indeed is very interesting) is not something that I would consider in evaluating political issues. I am more concerned with current affairs and problems such as the economy, education, healthcare etc. I have summarized my views in three simple points.

1. Fiscally Conservative.

I am a believer in free-market economics, and which is why I am a supporter of Thatcherism. I believe markets are more efficient when they are privatized, I also believe in consumers having autonomy in choosing what to spend their money on. I believe through the free-market there's more competition which brings about higher efficiency which is better for the economy and consumers.

2. Social Liberalism.

My social views could be argued to be quite bohemian, I really don’t care what people get up to in their personal lives; as long as they aren't hurting anyone they may do what they like. I am thus an ethical hedonist.

3. Unionist
I want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. I would like to explain that just because you are a unionist does not mean that a) you hate all Catholics, republicans or nationalists b) you believe it was right that the British government invaded Ireland and stole their land c) are homophobic or prejudiced in any other matter.  All unionism means is that in this present moment you want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. The reason why I am a unionist is purely because I believe we are better off with the UK in terms of Economics, that is all. I do not believe that because I am unionist it hinders my Irish identity. I am still from the Isle of Ireland and thus am Irish in that sense.

I hope this explains why I would support the Ulster Unionist Party in Northern Ireland and the Conservative party in England as these are the parties whose political agendas are most similar to my views.


Comments and questions welcome. I will try to reply to any queries in further posts!
I have changed the settings to allow anonymous comments.

4 comments:

  1. What an excellent, articulate and eloquent piece of writing! Well Done.

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  2. Very well put across Adam. I must say I agree on nearly all counts

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! I think quite a lot of people do but would be scared to admit to it unless able to do so anonymously. Like how to polls of the recent election showed the conservatives were not going to have a majority but when people actually voted they changed their minds secretly.

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Thank-you for your opinion!