Religion and phobias

“Why are you so anti Hindu ?” or “why are you so anti Muslim?” or “why are you so anti Christian ?

Questions like these are asked of me quite frequently in social media. My reply is this.

I am not against Hindus or Muslims or Christians. I usually debate and criticise ideas, not persons following them. So when I criticise a Hindu custom of not allowing equal rights to women devotees or a Muslim custom of forcing veil or burqa on women, I will not become anti Hindu or anti Muslim. When a Dalit is killed for marrying an upper caste girl I will call it a religious killing because casteism is part and parcel of Hinduism. Similarly when an atheist is hacked to death as per Quranic verses, I will call it again a religious killing.

Theists and some apologists for religion feel that only those who actually kill or cause harm, or order it, should be criticised, but not the idea, the religion concerned. This is like saying Hitler should be criticised but not Nazism. This is  giving free pass to dangerous inhuman irrational ideas. I do not want to give such a free pass.

Does that make me Hinduphobic or Muslimphobic ?

What is a phobia ? As per Oxford Dictionary it is “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”.

No, I do not have such a fear or aversion of Hindus or Muslims or of any theists as an individual.

Does that make me Hinduism-phobic or Islamophobic ?

It is true that I have an aversion to most religions. I also have a fear, may be not extreme due to my location,  that I can be harassed or harmed  by people inspired by love and devotion for religions, because I debate and criticise them. I consider it as a rational fear. So I can be justly called Hinduism-phobic or Islamophobic or Christianity-phobic if a person who is allergic to peanuts can be called peanut-o-phobic, an aversion and fear, but not an irrational one.


  1. kestrel says

    I have to wonder if a lot of the push back is due to religious ideas **finally** being out in public debate. When I was a child no such debate or even questioning was allowed. You just did not do that. Now that people are finally discussing ideas it seems the faithful feel they are being “persecuted” even though no such thing is happening and in many instances quite the opposite.

    At this point I don’t think fear of the faithful is extreme or irrational… it seems to be evidence-based.

    And why is it that no one’s “deeply held religious convictions” seem to be to leave other people alone?

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    kestrel @ # 1: … why is it that no one’s “deeply held religious convictions” seem to be to leave other people alone?

    You may well be surrounded by thousands who fervently hold exactly that position – but how would you find out?

Comments welcome