I, Heretic!

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I readily concede the heretical nature of my opinions. This has never been something I ever intended to hide, nor is it something that could have been, in fact, hidden.

For I have long embraced the old and simple truth that progress is never possible without heresy, and that the whole point behind asserting freedoms of conscience and of expression is to protect the very right to heresy, a notion that, strangely enough, still strikes many people all over the world as being quite incomprehensible, not to mention unacceptable, especially when put to practice.

The situation is made worse when the notion itself is abused by those trying to justify their hate or establish a new violent cult. Consequently, and in the view of many, heresy becomes an instrument of the devil and its expressions get employed to justify the very traditional faith-systems they seek to challenge. In these circumstances, heresy can never be seen as a necessary instrument of progress and is instead resisted with all the vigor and militancy the faithful can muster within themselves and their communities, using every possible instrument of war at their disposal, including riots and murder.

The contradiction here is simple: every visionary and prophet started out as a heretic. By standing against heresy and its propagators, the faithful are retroactively aligning themselves with the erstwhile persecutors of their heroes, and justifying the persecution of their own faiths.

Be that as it may, no amount of persecution may ever stamp out heresy, and even though some heresies may prove violent and reprehensible, heresy as a human need and a right remains vital for humanity’s survival and progress.

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Website of Syrian Author & Activist Ammar Abdulhamid