Many people say “stand up for what you believe in”, the phrase and line of thinking are common in memes across social media, speeches, and inspirational videos. I’m here to tell you not to.
I don’t question the intent behind the message, it is there to strengthen confidence, rebellion, and free-thinking. We can look to examples in the past, such as Rosa Parks, where a person stood up (or refused to stand up) for what they believed and these examples often lead to social and/or political change for the greater good.
Examples of successful change give us inspiration, confidence and hope that we can, too, change the world for the greater good. In itself, this isn’t a problem the problem is what you believe.
The word “believe” itself suggests a lack of knowing based on provable facts, evidence and real-world results. Belief is often about religion, spirituality, philosophy and social aspects, things that change throughout life and vary between people, nations, cultures, etc..
It is extremely likely that someone, somewhere believes something very different to what you believe, regardless of what the belief is about, whether that be about money, abortion, religion, the nature of time or the existence of reality itself. In other words, you are wrong according to another person’s beliefs.
Another person’s differing beliefs don’t make your beliefs inherently wrong but we can easily visualise a hypothetical or real-world example where 2 people or 2 groups differ in their beliefs and both groups stand up for what they believe in with a protest and a counter-protest. Unfortunately, on occasion, these events lead to violence between the groups. There isn’t always a definitive answer to who or what is right or most good.
Not only can there be a lack of certainty to beliefs, but some beliefs can be very dangerous, while still believing that they are good and right. It’s a common misconception that religious extremists want to take away freedom, that they want to kill for no reason, that they like to be bad and do bad things. For the most part, that’s not true. They are standing up for what they believe in.
In most cases, they don’t believe that they are bad, evil and unjust. They often believe that they are standing up for injustice, even while they murder just as we may support our militaries bombing the east. We’re good, they’re bad… that’s what they think too. Both sides can kill innocent civilians, children, parents, and justify it in the name of war.
A person may truly believe that God commanded them to do something or that it is truly better to be dead than alive, self-justified in some way. When mixed with emotions, mental health problems and other factors they may stand up for what they believe in and walk into a school or a church with a gun and open fire.
Sure, these are extreme examples. “I’m not going to kill anyone” you may be thinking to yourself. Good.
It’s not only extreme views and beliefs that are problematic. You may, for example, believe that the trails in the sky are chemtrails, and you are going to stand up for what you believe in by posting about it on social media. It may not result in anyone dying, or even being physically hurt. However, it still distracts people from the truth, promotes disinformation, changes peoples’ trust and scares people.
If what you believe relates to mass shootings being false flag operations or that more guns are the solution to these kinds of events, as many people do, then your actions may actually do more than scare people and distract from the truth, even if you’re just posting on social media to a few select friends.
If all you are doing is sharing natural remedies to treat illnesses, with all the best intention, to heal people, and with hundreds or thousands of people and friends that share your beliefs to reinforce what you believe, so that you know you are not alone and you truly believe those people don’t have bad intentions. Even in this situation, your innocent well-intentioned post can lead to someone not seeking professional treatment, they may be ok, but there is a chance, however small, that they will get worse or even die, even if not by seeing your post or messages directly.
Perhaps through others that pass on and share your beliefs, perhaps there are other dangerous pieces of advice on the same website, or in the same social media group, or perhaps it simply leads to a distrust of the health service in general.
These are all just examples, and you may feel justified that you cannot be to blame for whatever anyone else does, thinks or believes, but you still may have contributed to something bad. You can deny it, and you probably will, noone likes to be wrong. It is difficult to admit that we are wrong, or even that we aren’t entirely sure. You may even feel stress thinking that there is even a chance that you aren’t correct.
I hope you think more about what and how you contribute to the world, try to verify your beliefs and biases with provable facts.
Many of the problems in this world are caused by people doing what they believe is right, and many real-world problems stem from social media.
If you are truly sure that you are right, then stand up for what is right. I just hope your right isn’t actually dangerous and harmful.