So I met this guy and we got along very well up till the topic of evolution was brought up. He stated that evolution is completely untrue and that it is not even a science, and he inferred that I’m agnostic for believing in it. He started completely avoiding me ever since.
I am still surprised that such fanatics exist in Lebanon, a country supposedly uniting people with many different beliefs and diverse backgrounds. I am even more surprised that fanaticism exists among intelligent, well-educated students at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. You would expect that in a multicultural country, people would not necessarily adopt others’ points of view, but would at least accept all the different opinions they are exposed to.
I think the problem may lie here. Lebanese people are not exposed enough to agnosticism to accept it. The same applies to atheism and to all other forms of non-religious beliefs. They see these perspectives in media but not in person. They still perceive them as impossible and unreal; in their minds, it is only acceptable in movies.
But why aren’t we exposed to non-religious beliefs?
Is it because such perspectives are not adopted by local people? No. Proof being that among the people who are aware of the Atheist Census, 328 Lebanese have already voted being non-religious (and counting).
Is it because the number of Lebanese atheists is still limited? Yes, maybe.
But I think the main reason for this lack of exposure is due to the fact that most non-religious people are closeted in order to avoid getting disowned by their parents, or rejected by society, or frowned upon, or all of the above. Which, in turn, is partly due to fanaticism. This ends up forming a cycle:
In addition, fanaticism is accentuated by the misinterpretation and miseducation of religion. Religion never asks you to avoid or fear different beliefs. On the contrary, acceptance and tolerance are encouraged in all religions.
I wonder when non-religious people will be numerous enough to come out and break the cycle and when the Lebanese society will become more open to the different non-religious beliefs and even to the exotic religions like the ones in the Far East.