Thousands upon thousands of different groups, at this very moment, possess the absolute incontrovertible Truths.
Thousands upon thousands of different groups, at this very moment, worship the one true absolute Gods.
They have rules about when and what to eat, drink, read, watch, listen to, how to dress, how to style hair, who to associate with, and on and on.
They leave no facet of life untouched, demonizing certain behaviors and elevating others. They oppose the existence of those they deem deviant. They work to ensure that nobody controls their own lives.
They oppose, in varying degrees, the use of the critical faculties, relying upon arguments from tradition, authority, and emotion. They denounce dialogue and doubt, they censor art and literature.
They burn the books and they destroy the heretics.
And who are the heretics?
A heretic is “anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.”*
No matter who you are, no matter what you believe or don’t believe, to someone out there you are a heretic.
You hold an opinion that someone else considers a threat.
Your lifestyle is not in tune with what someone else would have.
You, me, all of us are heretics and we are in danger when authoritarians are able to enforce their dogmas upon others.
(this is an updated version of a piece I wrote years ago)