Whenever we see terrible things like the ISIS attacks in Paris, something happens on Facebook: Many people become experts on religion and politics, and still more people get anal when people don’t observe a tragedy exactly as they would. Terror attacks bring out the best in some people. In others, it brings out self-righteous tomfoolery.
Whatever your political and religious beliefs, the attacks prove that your agenda is the correct one. One guy posted so many memes about Obama being a secret agent for ISIS and the so-called Muslim brotherhood that I almost believed it after a while.
If you had the French flag superimposed over your profile picture, you were a racist for ignoring the attacks that happened a day before in Lebanon. You were an anti-Semite because you didn’t include Israel, which is attacked every day.
If you tried to make the point that terrorists don’t represent the whole of Islam, you got shouted down by the right wing for not accepting that Islam is in itself an evil, savage religion.
If you dared to point out that there is in fact evil in the world and that the bad guys must be destroyed, you got shouted down by the left wing for being intolerant and politically incorrect.
Where do my views fit into all this? As usual, somewhere in the middle.
I don’t believe Islam is in itself an evil religion. I know a lot of people who follow that faith and they are decent people who work hard and want what’s best for their communities. But I don’t think we can ignore the fact that far too many bad guys are twisting Islam to their evil purposes. People of Islam need to be a lot more vocal about it than they have been.
I’m not a gun-toting NRA supporter and I don’t buy into the rhetoric about liberals taking the good guys’ guns away. But I don’t think gun-control laws have helped all that much, since bad people continue to get around those laws.
I believe there is evil in the world, and there always has been. When bad guys plot to kill innocents, the good guys need to kill them first.
I believe that the best thing we can do to make a positive difference in the world is be good to other people. I believe that being good to people requires a whole lot more than putting slogans and statements on Facebook. It requires spending one’s time to do things for others, whether it’s helping them deal with a work-related challenge or a crisis in confidence and faith or helping them get food and other things a lot of us take for granted.
I believe that self-righteous people are generally assholes who have nothing better to do with their time than to put down others who disagree with them. If I ever get like that, I hope someone slaps me down hard.
I also think the vast majority of people are good. When danger strikes, we’ve seen many acts of compassion time and again.
That’s why I still have hope, even when the self-righteous pollute the Internet.