I remember one time when a lecturer (who was a Muslim) told us that The Quran is ‘just a book’ and then one of the students replied ‘how dare you’ even when the lecturer clearly said that it’s a perspective from a non-Muslim. This means that the student was offended for what the lecturer had stated. I also remember the time when a Muslim lecturer said to the whole class that ‘Christians are misguided’ in front of several Christian students who were in the same room with him including myself. Me, who just started to learn about my own faith was of course offended. Fast forward 8 years later today, I realize it was an unnecessary reaction.
The typical reaction when a person questions or criticizes you for your faith is to be offended. This incident alone is why many deem that religion or politics to be a sensitive issue. But is it senstive though? Or is society the one perceiving it to be sensitive? Hindering people from questioning a religion, ideology, and philosophy is an act of anti-intellectualism. Banning a book for being offensive to certain parties is also considered anti-intellectualism. It’s our personal convictions towards a particular belief that causes us to be offended when someone else points out what he/she perceives as a ‘flaw’ (it could be a legit one or a statement said due to ignorance) in our beliefs. I think being offended indicates that we need to explore and critique what we believe in. If one stops the other person from asking questions, even the most hard-hitting ones, either by reporting it to the authorities or inciting physical violence, I think it indicates that we are incapable of using our own intellectual capacity to explore and critique our own beliefs. By doing so, we are actually insulting our own intelligence.
I have my own personal method of preventing myself from becoming offended when people suddenly throwing insults or criticisms at me for the ideas or philosophy that I hold stongly. I detach the personal convictions towards an idea that I have from my mind in order to make room for reconstruction of previous notions of the idea or belief. This process will allow me to investigate and think critically of what was being said whether they are legit or just baseless assumptions.
It’s not a crime to be offended. I think it’s part of human nature because some part of us are defined by our emotions and personal values. But don’t let every single thing that offends us to become a crime, especially when we are being questioned about our beliefs. We have a mind of our own, use it.