The very fast and complex changes that the world has undergone in recent years have led to new responses and social unrest. One such response has taken place in the religious sector. The growth of new religions, new beliefs, and new interpretations is an intellectual response in an attempt to fulfil the spiritual needs of certain groups/individuals these days.
Unfortunately, these new teachings, both in the form of religions or beliefs/sects, are always viewed as defamatory. This basically equates to the denial of a group’s/individual’s intellectual thought.
The response to this deviance has been a need to rectify it, often through physical violence and intimidation. The PNPS/1965 law places emphasis on this violent attitude. Members of deviant sects are accused of being criminals, their leaders are arrested by police, and the group is disbanded by force. Quite often, their houses of worship and assets are burnt down or destroyed.
It seems we have still not departed from this narrative of deviance and rectification, even though the diversity of our nation can only grow through awareness of difference. What is required in the midst of such differences is a state that provides a place for dialogue and debate, not a state that promotes iron-law and destruction.