Many believe that the title above is valid. They will argue that established customs, or practices arising from what are regarded as holy sources, are of greater importance than man-made rules or modern viewpoints.
Is this so? Does culture or religion give excuses for any behaviour outside of the acceptable norms of society, even to the extent of barbarity?
What is a barbarian? The commonest definitions will include a person who is ‘primitive’, ‘savage’, ‘uncivilised’, ’ignorant’, ‘uncultured’, ‘inferior’, ‘backward’, and variations on these themes. In modern society, a barbarian is a misfit. It is a mystery, therefore, why behaviour is condoned or tolerated in the name of ‘culture’ (ironic) or religion which amounts to barbarity.
Genital mutilation, male or female, falls within this scope. So does human or animal sacrifice, ritual slaughter, or any practice which causes undue suffering or discomfort to anything with sentient life. Hunting for sport, foxhunting, bullfighting, cockfighting, and dogfighting all come under this label. This also includes any equestrian sport placing the horse in undue danger of injury, such as extreme steeplechasing, jumping or cross-country. Potential injuries to riders are not of consequence.
The keeping of slaves is still sanctioned by religious writings, and is part of existing ‘cultures’. The inherent inferiority of women is a concept also deeply rooted in custom and religion. Does that make these OK?
Similarly, the Afrikaner culture regarded all those of black African origin or blood as inferior, and in some of the most ridiculous sets of laws and rules ever formulated ordered that separate facilities be used by them — while still being quite happy for their food to be prepared by such ‘inferior’ or ‘unclean’ people. Ludicrous, but they found any amount of ammunition in religious texts to support their viewpoints. On this basis it became the inculcated ‘custom’ for blacks in South Africa to defer to whites, and call them ‘baas’ (master). It was also the custom of whites to go to all office jobs in a sweltering climate wearing a jacket and tie. If such customs can be abandoned for moral or practical reasons, surely so also can others meriting change?
All those indulging in any of the listed practices should now apply their intelligence and weigh such things in the harsh light of common sense. Do they have the slightest merit, and are they worth propagating? Are they morally defensible? Did they truly arise from divine edict or are they just one of the many carryovers from primitive ages? Are they not, in fact, simply disgusting?