Culture and Religion Overrule Normal Laws and Customs

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.


In bullfighting,  an inventive village in Peru has even got the innovation of tying their naughtiest dog onto the back of the bull, so that both may be killed in the ring.  Care 2 have started a petition to have this practice outlawed.

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?

 © February 2017 Colonialist

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Africa, Blood Sports, Cultural Barbarities, Current Affairs, Dogs, ritual slaughter and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Culture and Religion Overrule Normal Laws and Customs

  1. kertsen says:

    I agree with you and that is because it is in direct conflict with the instinct of survival. As a race we tend to be governed by selfish ambition and this has led to a pyramid of wealth. At the top the elite and at the bottom the destitute , while each layer struggles to climb upwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kertsen says:

    I’m always wary when the word true is put infront of anything , true Christian , true intelligence, true meaning , etc. Let’s say high IQ the test that was devised to distinguish between knowledge and intelligence. Is it contrary to logic to kill to eat ? or to chop down a forest to grow crops? What is logical will depend on your viewpoint it is not absolute. Fundamentalism is a mind-set that can be suffered by any one , that is its great danger. It locks the person into a fixed behaviour pattern governed by a set of rules or an ideology.
    Regarding well-being you are right it would need watching like everything does , the well-being of the few may be put above the well-being of the many.


    • colonialist says:

      Indeed. There are no absolutes except for the absolute that there are no absolutes.
      The greater good for the greater number is a maxim which seems, these days, to be increasingly ignored.


  3. kertsen says:

    ‘ Applying intelligence ‘ is a useless concept. There are many very intelligent members of ISIS. Intelligence can be quite dangerous since it can condone any moral action it wishes. A much better moral yardstick is well-being as suggested by the well known atheist Sam Harris.


    • colonialist says:

      Depends on how one defines ‘intelligence’. Fundamentalist religionists do not demonstrate true intelligence, no matter what their backgrounds and accomplishments. Their ability to accept as truth things which can be disproved beyond doubt is evidence of this.
      I would say Sam Harris falls far short on that yardstick. From Aristotle, the term has been bandied around in the context of morals, but behaviour which is contrary to logic and can be regarded as despicable is still capable of inducing wellbeing.


  4. libraschild says:

    alas. common sense is often lacking… or perhaps the ability to move with time and open your eyes. loooved the views of the midlands btw, felt quite jealous


  5. I’d like to tie the bastards who tied that poor dig to the bull to the back of a crocodile, I cannot think of anything which has disgusted me this much


  6. Tooty Nolan says:

    The reason that no huge UFO has ever landed on the White House lawn, in Red Square, or anywhere for that matter, is because the human race (generally) are a bunch of arse holes, and are not fit to receive a visitation from extraterrestrials. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a united Earth (Star Trek) will only happen long after Homo Sapiens, as the dominant species, have departed this mortal coil.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The picture of the dog on the bull made me wince. Killing for sport or ritual is, to me, what makes me ashamed to be human. I treat everyone (including any live being) as I wish to be treated—with kindness. I won’t try to hug an angry bull; I will leave it alone and try to ensure its safety, though.

    If everyone in the world would ask a simple question before they did or said anything even bordering on cruelty or harm, I believe our world would be so much better: Would I want someone to do/say that to me?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Every word you wrote reverberated with me… there just aren’t any arguments against what you say … and I include horse racing… the strain put on horses means so many injuries resulting in death as they are stretched past their endurance from a young age…
    I do believe that respect for all life is part of the raising of consciousness of the human race and is an indicator of where we have got to in our evolution.
    As for the cruelty which seems to be part of so many religions… what beats me is that so many apparently intelligent people are relying on Bronze Age writing or injunctions to dictate their behaviour in this day and age !!!!
    Hope many people read what you have written…

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      It seems to me that some people are simply more advanced than others when it comes to thinking for themselves on such issues. It does not only depend on book learning and knowledge or on the amount of brainwashing received in youth. Some minds simply latch onto these myths and they stick like burrs. Others soon reject them.
      I was brought up in a society which glorified hunting. In target practice I could outshoot all of my fellows; when it came to shooting at game I would always miss without conscious intention — but my heart simply wasn’t in it. Later I grew to abhor the concept, other than when it was genuinely out of necessity.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. calmgrove says:

    There’s an argument, isn’t there, that people adhere to customs and religious practices because they sanction their culture, their traditions and beliefs — they have an emotional investment in such ways of thinking and acting, and therefore there is no point trying to use logic or rational discourse to change their minds.

    But then I think of my own instincts — of respecting others, of support for justice, of abhorring bullying behaviours — and wonder, for all that I use logic and rational discourse to justify them, whether equally these are symptoms of my own emotional investment?

    I’m not arguing for relativism here– saying that one emotional point of view is as good as another — not at all. But what it boils down to its morality. There is a morality based solely on local society (the root of the word is of course mores, Latin for societal customs) but there is also the morality of a wider-based community, humanity.

    And, as so many religions and philosophies emphasise down through the ages, true morality is about loving your ‘neighbour’ and showing compassion. Slavery, racism, misogyny, cruelty in all its forms — how can a narrow view of morality ever trump that wider, more universal morality? Logically and emotionally surely they cannot?

    A timely post, Leslie. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. El Rolyat says:

    The word ‘Cruelty’ just about covers every form of unacceptable behaviour. I am prepared to respect any culture, as long as it doesn’t include (or encourage) cruelty.

    I agree, there cannot be any arguments about this. Not valid ones anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Good one Col. But are you looking for arguments? There are none.

    Liked by 1 person

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