Religion & Religiosity

Jun 16th, 2008, in Opinion, by

Rima Fauzi Rima says religion and religiosity are to blame for much of Indonesia’s, and the world’s, troubles.

Why religion doesn’t matter at all

Once upon a time, Indonesia was well-known in the world as a nation of peace, tolerance and religious pluralism. Other countries even made us their example, a country full of people with various religious beliefs, from various ethnic and language background, people who live side by side in harmony.

Indonesia was and even more now, a very religious country, where the people live and breathe religion. It doesn’t matter what religion a person is, as long as it’s one of the six official religions. While it is unheard of in developed countries, in Indonesia identity cards bear not only name, address and sex, but also religion. Thus, religion is a must in the country of 240+ million people.

I still remember as a little girl, my Christian neighbors would come to our house in Eidl Fitr to celebrate our Ramadan victory with us, and vice versa, we would come to their houses to celebrate Christmas with them. Back then, we were not suspicious with one another, we were all like one big happy family, with real problems, none of which originated from religion. Those were good times.

I also remember being taught that religious people, specifically Muslims, go to heaven (if they’re good) and others do not. As kids, our schools taught us communism equals atheism and therefore very, very bad. This is deeply embedded in our minds which is why many Indonesians feel somewhat afraid or even disgusted towards communists and atheists.

As a little Muslim girl, at home and in Madrasah, I was taught that Jews were our enemy, never mind the fact that the Koran says otherwise. Christians weren’t mentioned, as it was politically incorrect to address them as our enemies back then. Besides, the President was close with the Christian community as well as the Muslims, making it a point that we were brothers and sisters who must fight the latent danger of communism and atheism.

Back then, I thought religious people like my dad, with his Peci, white shirt and sarong, reading the Holy Koran and doing the daily 5 obligatory prayers, Friday prayers plus the sunnahs like Dhuha and Tahajud; Or neighbors that go to church every Sunday and have bible studies once or twice a week, were perfect. Maybe they were, then. Living without a religion was something unthinkable, and most certainly a life that would doom a person to hell.

Fast forward several decades, things have changed. Not for the better, but for the worse. Now, the country is becoming more religious than ever, but tolerance is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Suspicion of Christian evangelism, for example, is rampant everywhere in the country with ridiculous accusations of lures of instant noodle to make one convert. Not only that, even sects within Islam are now attacked, despite sharing the same God and the same Holy Book.

Many of us are not obeying the law but instead take matters into our own hands. We are bypassing God as the only rightful entity to judge and condone or condemn anyone. Attacks and burning down of churches, places of worship and even mosques of different Islamic faith from Indonesia’s mainstream Islamic brand make many feel threatened to continue living in this tropical paradise. The government is weak and caves in to terrorist demands. A real shame that would make our founding fathers turn in their graves.

However, as we are growing more religious, good morals seems to have declined. There is no more shame in bribery, in prostituting the country by selling its resources to the so-called ‘infidels’ for big money while the country is short of the resources sold; there is no more shame in adultery, in human rights violations, in cheating the poor; there is no more shame in flaunting riches in front those who don’t have enough money to buy a decent meal, in attacking people for having different beliefs, in condoning immoral and violent acts; there is no more shame in oppressing ethnic and religious minority, in stealing funds intended to help those struck with earthquake/tsunami; there is no more shame in not being polite, in offending our brothers and sisters of different beliefs, of displaying behavior and attitude suitable for the middle ages, and; there is no more shame in abandoning victims of a disaster as a result of one’s greedy attempt to rich themselves, in any immoral acts in the interest of one’s self or group, being a bigot, racist and being discriminative.

We are instead fixated in pornography, women’s dress codes, dangdut singers’ dance and internet as if those are the only things in the world that could and would corrupt the moral of our future generation. We aren’t even ashamed of the fact that we are in the top 10 of most corrupt countries in the world, as if money is our new God, yet we are, without a doubt, one of the most religious nations in the world.

As I see all those above and more so-called religious people fighting with one another. Where one feels more self-righteous than the other and worse, hurting and killing people in the name of God, a God – if It exists at all – who would most likely shed a tear in sadness and frustration at all this, my opinion and feeling towards religions have changed 180 degrees.

I now strongly believe that religions are the culprit of all hurt and heartaches the people of this world has endured in the past, present and future. I believe it’s nothing but poison to the human mind. It limits our thinking, promotes hatred and violence and it tries to control us with threats of hell and lure us into doing evil things with promises of heaven. The day I know what religion God believes in, is the day I will once again believe in a religion. But until then, all the points above are the reasons why I think religion doesn’t matter at all.


302 Comments on “Religion & Religiosity”

  1. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    I somehow seem to have gotten there:-)

    @ mirax,

    I have such friends as well. My brother is dating my Ismaili friend, although they’re too young to contemplate marriage. And one of my friends’ mum is a Muslim married to a Hindu Brahmin, while my Muslim History teacher( a woman) recently married a Sikh. At the same time, I’ve seen far more Muslim men marry non Muslim women, than the other way round, and far more non Muslims convert to Islam as well. If Patrick is 12-13, I was rather harsh on him…

    @ Timdog,

    Since you’ve spoken many times about the West’s treatment of Islam in history, it wasn’t all one way traffic. Here’s what a Muslim, Said said of the White man in the Middle Ages: “They(the Europeans) are of a great stature and of a white color. But they lack all penetration of wit, and ability of intellect…” Remember this was the Islamic Golden Ages, when they were copying Greaco-Roman and Indo-Buddhist knowledge, and adding to them. However, then the tables turned and the West had its Renaissance, and the Muslims’ seem to have trouble since then adjusting to the changed power equations.

    Anyway the Muslims don’t take too well to patronising from Whites’ like you. Remember the Christian writer Montgomary Watt, who wrote that famous two volume biography on the Prophet? Some Muslims’ think, if Islam’s such a great religion, why haven’t you gone ahead and converted? Egyptian intellectual Hussein Amin said that he preferred the old missionaries who were at least honest about their intention to convert Muslims to Christianity, than Watt’s dishonesty.

    And while Jinnah didn’t exactly grow a beard and abstain from beer, his acts show enough double standards, don’t you think? And letting a daughter marry a non Muslim requires greater secularism which Jinnah arguably didn’t possess. At least Gandhi had stuck to his Hinduism throughout, but since Jinnah could marry a Parsi, he should’ve extended the same privilege to his daughter. Surely whats’ good for the gander is good for the goose, and if a non Muslim woman can marry a Muslim man, his Muslim daughter should be allowed the same privilege.

    A very successful Paki film, “Khuda ke Liye” deals with Muslims’ like Jinnah. Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but in this movie a man drinks to glory in British pubs, and has a string of White girlfriends. However, when he gets to know that his daughter is planning to elope with her White boyfriend, he cleverly tricks her into a trip to Pak, and marries her off to a a fundie in N.W.F.P. Of Pak. This movie was very well received by women in Egypt, and Egyptian women told the director how they could exactly relate to the issues shown. So you see, a libertine behaviour by the Muslim men, while still having a bigot’s heart and enforcing strict rules on their women is pretty well known to Muslim born women everywhere.Recently, a Dubai prince, a married father of five, married a Russian waitress in miniskirts. I highly doubt his daughter would be allowed to marry a California surfer. Zia ul Haq didn’t grow a beard either…time for reflection?

  2. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    Pius has a controversial legacy.

    [copy-paste deleted by admin]

  3. Patrick says:

    @Shloka – did you write all that yourself?

    I think the conversion of the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Isreal Zolli shortly after the War’s end is testimony enough of the good the Catholic Church did for the Jewish people. Anyway, we can agree to disagree here. Thanks!

  4. Patrick says:

    dewaratugedeanom says – I still don’t get it. Do you blame Buddhism – religion or philosophy, whatever –

    You raise interesting points and questions with no easy way for me to answer them. Who do we blame? What is the common denominator to all these atrocities around the world? Do we blame religion? The Infidels? The American CIA? Who? The answer I am afraid lies well within ourselves. Is it our innate nature to have two sides in conflict. A battle if you will for our soul pitting good versus evil and our ability to discern what is right and what is wrong. It is then our free will to decide which path we will choose in any given situation and over-time those choices determine who we are and often our fate in life. Going back to the question is religion to blame? I think for the most part the answer is a resounding no! religion is not to blame. i.e., If for instance all people followed the bible’s instructions on human sexuality (or maybe the Koran is similar) then AIDS could have never spread as it has. So who is to blame in Sub-Saharan Africa for the spread of AIDS? All the people who engaged in risky sexual behavior ? How about those people who contracted AIDS intravenously? Or the babies born to HIV positive moms who then become infected after traveling through the birth canal? You see there are no easy answers so perhaps we need more kindness and compassion in our world for our fellow man and OK or woman :>) We need to acknowledge each other as fellow human beings on a journey in this life that ultimately ends at our death. Generally speaking, religion is a tool given to us to help us stay on the right path. Is religion used for bad purposes from time to time? Yes, and your bringing up Northern Ireland is one example.

    My point about the Buddhist majority population countries is that if so many people are Buddhist then why all the atrocities? Why do these countries attract totalrian regimes for the most part? Given the advertised benign nature of Buddhism it appears counterintuitive? But the same could be said of all religions when they and/ or their members become involved in atrocities. And that was my point all along. Peace.

  5. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    Of course, the statement of the Chief Rabbi is an extremely strong point in the Pope’s favour. Anyways, this guy does have a controversial legacy, just google Pius XII and the Holocaust and see the differing opinions. And its definitely bad that, while Jewish converts to Catholicism were allowed to remain in Brazil, the reverts to Judaism had their passports revoked. Thats’ something I’d definitely hold against him.

    Anyway this Pius reminds me of another Pius, Pius IX, who in 1858 had a little Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara kidnapped from his house and raised as a Catholic, all because the boy’s nurse had sprinkled water on him to baptize him a Catholic as a baby. His parents were of course given the right to get him back but only if they agreed to be baptized Catholic themselves. My point was, while there are indeed acts of violence on ex Buddhists, who’ve recently left the faith, the Buddhists haven’t tormented another ancient faith like Christians tormented Jews, nor had an Inquisition stretching from Spain to America on the West and India on the East, or for that matter fought a Crusade with another monotheistic faith.

    And yes, Japan behaved abominably for five years of World War II, but the European countries behaved far worse for the two centuries of colonialism, which only ended after World War II.They behaved badly during the African slave trade too, and although the anti slavery movement was later supported by the Church, earlier the Church had given its support to slavery. And even though the present Pope has recently condemned colonialism, in the colonial period, the missionaries happily followed the colonialists, and spread the Gospel and subservience to colonial masters in equal measure.

    And yes, while a country’s morals are largely influenced by its faith, there are many other factors as well.The Western civilization for instance owes a great deal to the Greaco Roman ideals, and deists like Voltaire, which are non Christian sources.Lots of racists blame the African AIDS pandemic on “oversexed” Niggers. So unless an evil is directly related to the religion practiced, we cannot blame the religion, can we?

  6. Lairedion says:

    timdog,

    In stead of referring to dead journalists and obsolete English-language writers most of the world don’t even know or care about can you for to stay focused and react to the following with straight and sober answers?

    1. Does Gandhi really has blood dripping from his hands like Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, in other words did he condone or instigate the violence, murder and genocide that occurred during the Subcontinent partition?
    2. Or are you trying to say recent studies have revealed Gandhi was not the saint he is portrayed as and his stubbornness may have attributed to the violence that occurred during the Subcontinent partition, although not intentionally? Hey, we might think Gandhi was only human after all.

    The likes of Buchan and Kipling (backpacks?), you can save those for your elitist high tea sessions with fellow literature lovers who aren’t in any way useful to address and describe the problems my country is facing with Islam and this is what we are really discussing here, just to bring this thread back to its topic.

    James Cameron (the journalist or the action/sci-fi movie director) may be a hero to you, my heroes are all unknown “wong cilik” striving for goodness and righteousness by showing compassion to fellow humans, animals and wildlife without asking back anything.

    Maybe I can consider myself a “hero”. For the last 15 years I’m running a project in a Bandung kampung letting poor children go to primary school because their parents cannot afford the costs. And guess what, timdog, all are exclusively from Sundanese Muslim backgrounds. Perhaps they will turn into intolerant fanatic Muslims burning churches. Time will tell, I don’t know. I do not ask for favours, I am not trying to secure my place in Heaven and I don’t discriminate. It’s just my little contribution of trying to do good and to help the country I’m no longer part of but still love.

    So let’s hear it for me but wait a minute, according to you I am part of the problem and regularly misses the point…

  7. timdog says:

    Yaaaaawwwwwwwnnnn….
    Lairedion, Gandhi did not actively kill, or actively call for the killing of anyone, and neither did Jinnah; both have blood on their hands, and both, by a couple of stepping-stone jumps hold a certain degree of responsibility for the mess of the modern Subcontinent, and the the wider “ripple effect” thereof… Gandhi worked hard to try to ease the bloodshed of partition itself; but the “blood on his hands” line comes from the suggestion that his stubborness was key in allowing the situation of partition itslef to come about (and the world would be a very different place had it not done so)…
    As I’ve said before, we’d be a lot better off had Pakistan not come into being; I imagine, knowing what I do about your position, that you would agree if you took the time to look into the matter.
    Were either Gandhi or Jinnah “evil” like Pol Pot? Of course not, but their destructive effect in the historical long run may well prove to be more profound…

    James Cameron the director is NOT a hero of mine… Why don’t you try reading some of the other JC’s work. I think you might like it.
    Well done for your works in the kampungs of West Java…
    Inverse snobbery about people who happen to have read some books is as unattractive as snobbery about those who haven’t.

  8. Shloka says:

    @ Timdog,

    Granted Mohammed Ali Jinnah wasn’t a raving loony Bin Laden type- but a true secularist? That takes some stretch of imagination, especially as he’d already demonstrated his double standards regarding his daughter’s marriage. Gandhi’s reaction to his son’s conversion to Islam, while indeed not secular, didn’t show double standards. And as far as his skepticism and un Muslim lifestyle proving that he was indeed not wanting a separate Muslim state, all the founding fathers(and mothers) of Zionism were skeptics too.Theodor Herzl said that “we shall know how to keep (our clergymen) in their temples.” Chaim Weitzman was an agnostic scientist. Vladimir Jabotinsky wanted his body to be cremated – a sin in Judaism. David Ben-Gurion refused to cover his head even at funerals. Golda Meir on being asked if she believed in God remarked,” I believe in the Jewish people, and the Jewish people believe in God.” So a lifestyle not in conformation with one’s religion doesn’t automatically mean that one won’t dream of a separate state for one’s religion, thats’ a very weak argument.

    Jinnah was earlier opposed to the idea of Pakistan, and he’d made several proposals like Muslims should have one third representation in Parliament, and the Muslim majorities in states should be legally left undisturbed. On rejection of these( and why should a majority be left undisturbed? Surely anyone from India, Muslim or non Muslim should be allowed to travel or reside anywhere in the nation. Are Catholic majorities in the U.S. and U.K. left undisturbed?) he began to warm up to the idea that, Pakistan was indeed neccessary. Its been suggested that, his friend Sir Iqbal, a poet who propagated the idea of Pakistan, gradually encouraged him into accepting this idea. India doesn’t have a single discriminatory law towards Muslims, even heretic Ahmadiyya and Ismailis, but one doesn’t have to stoop to special privileges.

    And how would an undivided India be more peaceful? Just look at nations with a near equal Muslim and non Muslim population- Lebanon at perpetual war and Nigeria, almost torn into two with strict Shariah laws including stoning and mutilation in its Muslim regions. Doubtless you’ve some ingenious explanations for those? Indeed a big minority of Muslims is enough to swell up the prison population and cause riots, a la France and India. Best would be a total population exchange, where Muslims could have authoritarian Governments, banned sects like Ahmadiyya,Wahabbi preachers and terrorist attacks on each other to their hearts’ content.

    Incidentally one’s reading choices also reflect partisan views, and I really don’t mean to attack you this time. If one reads Robert Spencer, Mark Steyn or Ibn Warraq, one decidedly wants a negative picture of Islam. If one screams “part of the problem” at these authors, and judiciously searches for books that hold other extremely diverse elements responsible for everything wrong Muslims’ do, then one’s trying too hard to justify Muslims.

  9. Lairedion says:

    Timdog,

    I accept your explanation about Gandhi and Jinnah still I would use the expression “blood on their hands” for real criminals and mass murderers or political leaders who instigated violence, murder, terror and genocide, something we cannot blame both Gandhi and Jinnah for. Our own ex-boss Soeharto would be a fitting candidate.

    The play on James Cameron the director was just a bait I couldn’t resist to throw out. At this moment I don’t really have the time to read James Cameron’s work. I’m busy with work, family, relatives and some projects in Indonesia like the one in Bandung. I’m really happy if I can find some time to read because I do read. It’s a matter of priorities and lack of time. So I am not inverse snobbery about people who read books but I don’t understand the emphasis you sometimes put on literature and writers in your comments, as an side-kick or as an explanation. I think it’s elitist and too often diverging from the topic. But hey, it’s your style and that’s why I find it sometimes tiring to read your comments.

    About the new avatar, I’m not quite happy with it. I just bought a new PDA and I was playing with the camera function and uploaded this picture. As soon as I find the right picture I will upload it. You understand, it must appeal to the ladies here.

    By the way, these are not angry eyes. I’m “blessed” with heavy eyebrows (through my father’s lineage) and it appears like I’m angry-looking.

    Adios for today, I’ve got a football match to watch. Hup Holland Hup…..

  10. Patrick says:

    @Shloka – We can spend eternity attacking each others viewpoint, religion, history etc. and my reply is SO WHAT? Those things happened in the past (or did not happen depending on which side of the fence you happen to be on) and we are living in the NOW! We cannot change the past but we can learn from mistakes made or not made? The point is what are we going to do today and tomorrow to contribute to a better world? What I have learned from your posting here at IM is that you show no inclination to being part of the solution but have demonstrated time and again that your part of the problem. Timdog has been much more kind in his criticism of your thinking than I am being here but people like you need to change or God help us all!

    @ Lairedion – Do you really have such a big heart or are you just hedging your bets in case there really is a Big Bearded Man in the Sky waiting for you? : > ) Personally, I think its the former but in either case you are a hero for doing what your doing. Cheers!

  11. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    Believe me, I didn’t want to attack monotheism, nor do I want to attack atheism, however, I felt Buddhism has as much right to be called a faith as any other “monotheistic” faith. In your example of the good religion has done, for “simplicity” you included the monotheistic faiths. The fact that monotheistic faiths often indulge in religious fundamentalism is a belief held not only by me but by many scholars, even Christian apologists like Rodney Stark,and yes violence in the past doesn’t automatically prove that a faith is violent in present as well. I think, except Islam, Christianity and Judaism are remarkably non violent and non fundamentalist at present.

    However, all I tried to do was include the polytheist faiths like the ancient Greek Faith (brutally suppressed by Christianity, and there’s an attempt to revive it), ancient Egyptian Faith, or Ancient Nordic faiths, who are polytheistic. For instance a polytheistic faith like the Egyptian faith lasted 4000 years, double the time Christianity has, Egypt was perhaps the world’s superpower during much of that time, but there were no Crusades for the faith. Even today, the third largest faith in the world, Hinduism is polytheistic.Japan’s Shintoism is a polytheism . Buddhism the world’s fourth largest faith is agnostic. These faiths have as much right as the three monotheisms to be included, don’t you think? There’s no prerequsite of an idea of God or one God to disqualify a faith from being one. And the fact that Crusades, Inquisitions have happened in polytheisms is a historical fact, I didn’t invent it.

    Then if you say Buddhism isn’t a faith just a philosophy, as it lacks a God, or atrocities connected by Buddhist nations as an example that Buddhism is bad, even though those atrocities are unrelated to Buddhism, I went on to colonization, Russian communism et al which could as well be examples of Christianity’s wrongdoings. Of course, Communism isn’t Buddhism’s fault, and AIDS and colonization aren’t Christianity’s fault.
    But agnostic faiths like Buddhism or polytheisms like Hinduism have as much right to be a valid faith as any monotheism, why should monotheism be superior?

    Of course I repeat, Christianity(I presume its your faith) is rarely violent at present, and apostates live free of fear in most Christian nations.

  12. Suppose religion in Indonesia, -our country-, growth in harmony. Please do not placing religion as to be matter in our plural social community. Please believe your own religion deeply inside yours with respecting another have. I don’t want hear again extremely cases as like FPI, Bali Boom, Poso cases, Church Burns, and other related with religion contain. Its makes Indonesia seem having crowded problem or not secure for global worldwide environment. Let’s makes our country developed in Bhineka Tunggal Ika spirit.

  13. Lairedion says:

    Patrick,

    I’m not hedging my bets. I live now and I just want to try to do good now for the sake of the future of our planet as a whole. The decisions I make every day will determine if I’m a good man or not, not religious observance, praying or believing in the Big Man in the Sky.

    If I get to chance to get old I don’t want to look back at my life only to realize it was an empty and worthless life full of materialism, egoism, greediness, lack of compassion and missed opportunities.

    That’s how I see it. Nothing special or deep-digging stuff really.

  14. dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ Shloka

    Sorry if I’m intrusive, but is your involvement and factual knowledge generic among Indian students of your age, or do you consider yourself an exception because of your personal experiences?

  15. dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ Patrick

    My point about the Buddhist majority population countries is that if so many people are Buddhist then why all the atrocities? Why do these countries attract totalrian regimes for the most part? Given the advertised benign nature of Buddhism it appears counterintuitive? But the same could be said of all religions when they and/ or their members become involved in atrocities. And that was my point all along. Peace.

    In my opinion the reason for this lies exactly in the benign nature of Buddhism because totalitarian regimes can easily get away with it without having to fear much opposition and retaliation. Sad but true, not only familiarity but also unconditional kindness breeds contempt.
    And don’t forget: opposites attract.

  16. Andy says:

    Going back to the original article, when religion has caused so much pain and atrocity within Indonesia, can some open minded people there now concede that atheists are not that bad?

  17. Shloka says:

    @ Dewa,

    I generally am near the top of my class in English and History, but India’s really working its students’ hard, and a lot of my classmates’ have similar knowledge. I’ve been to China as an exchange student in the eighth standard, and it seems their general knowledge and science skills are even better!

    But I’m really not that good, it took me 3 attempts to understand the Stanford University page you hyperlinked, and a friend to whom I mailed it comprehended it at once. By the way, many thanks for that link. I like lots’ of aspects’ of Hinduism and Buddhism very much, especially the tolerance of other belief systems’ and the fact that they don’t condemn non believers’ to Hell, and of course the philosophical aspects’ are often unparalled by any other religious literature. JMO.

  18. Patrick says:

    Sloka says: “Believe me, I didn’t want to attack monotheism,..”

    Your in the Spin Zone again! :>)


    Sloka says: “For instance a polytheistic faith like the Egyptian faith lasted 4000 years, double the time Christianity has, Egypt was perhaps the world’s superpower during much of that time,…

    It is really very ironic that you chose Egypt here as it is a pivotal point in the Jewish tradition and their relationship with the One-God of Abraham & Moses, the same God worshiped by Christianity and Islam. The polytheistic Egyptians enslaved the Jews for about 400 years and had them build many of the Pyramids and other structures found throughout Egypt in that time. God commanded Moses to approach Pharaoh to release his people (the Jews) from bondage and to let them go from this land. Pharaoh stubbornly refused through 9 plagues sent by God to the Egyptian people. However, none effected the Jews. The 10th plagues known as the death of the first born is still remembered by the Jewish people today and is known as Passover.
    This episode in history is forever remembered because the Monotheistic God defeats thoroughly the false polytheistic gods of Egypt and their high priests by exposing them as powerless against Him.

    Shloka says: “However, all I tried to do was include the polytheist faiths like the ancient Greek Faith (brutally suppressed by Christianity, ..”

    As far as I know when Christianity came onto the scene Greece was already part of the Roman Empire. It was the Christians I think who were brutalized as attempts were made to eradicate them. They were driven under ground (Catacombs of Rome) and many were martyred for their acceptance of Christ throughout the Empire. Christians were also killed for sport and in front of cheering crowds in the Coliseum (throw the Christians to the lions!). It took about 300 years before Christianity became the preferred religion of the Empire.

  19. Jakartass says:

    Andy wrote:”Going back to the original article, when religion has caused so much pain and atrocity within Indonesia, can some open minded people there now concede that atheists are not that bad?

    Firstly, I’m glad to see that an attempt is being made to bring the focus back to Rima’s original article which was, I suspect, stimulated both by her own questioning and the violent attack on June 1st on a rally of groups ‘celebrating’ the tolerance enshrined in the state philosophy Pancacila by the hired thugs, and self-proclaimed righteous Muslims, of Front Pembela Islam (FPI).

    There are indeed many atheists in Indonesia. Most of us are quite good.

  20. janma says:

    an atheist sneezed on me once. When I recovered, I’d lost my faith.

  21. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    While I acknowledge that if the Jewish enslavement in Egypt indeed happened, it shows great intolerance, even Rabbi S. David Sperling of the Reform Judaic Seminary of New York acknowledges there’s absolutely no proof of Moses’s existence apart from the Torah. The Egyptians were a literate society, and if such a 400 year enslavement happened, there’d be some records, right? Of course, if we go exactly according to the Bible, the Earth is 6000 years old, and we’d be discussing the colors of the fig leaves Eve wore. And of course, whether or not this incident occured, the death of innocent first borns doesn’t seem like a very kind action on God’s part! Slavery was actively practiced by Jews and sanctioned in the OT as well. Unlike the doubtful historicity of Moses, the Crusades and Inquisition are well documented, so those aren’t mythology.

    Then you go on to say,”This episode in history is forever remembered because the Monotheistic God defeats thoroughly the false polytheistic gods of Egypt and their high priests by exposing them as powerless against Him.” Firstly, its not history but religious mythology, same as Adam, Eve and serpent, and polytheisms have similar myths too. Would you believe a similar story told only in Japan’s Shintoism as accurate history, if it wasn’t present in any other texts of the time? And you say,” false polytheistic gods”. Who’s showing intolerance now, Patrick?

    And about suppression of the Greek faith, yes Greeks were part of the Roman Empire, and some Christians were martyred, but that was by Rome, not Greece. Anyway, the death count again is insignificant compared to the Inquisitions. And when Constantine declared Christianity the official faith of the Roman Empire, Greeks were still following their Gods. Famous Greek polytheist Vlassis Rassias has written a series of books on the suppression of the Ancient faith of the Greeks. Just google Hellenic Neo Paganism and see there are indeed examples of how priests and priestesses of the ancient Greek faith were persecuted, and Greeks wanting to worship their gods were punished. In fact, Rassias’s books are often not allowed to be sold in shops in Greece, although the Greek preists haven’t been able to find fault in his account. Greece still doesn’t recognize those worshipping Hellenic paganism as an official faith.

    Finally, about monotheistic Gods defeating polytheistic Gods, well the monotheistic God contradicts himself at times. For instance, he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross, then he took on the name Allah and sent an angel to Mohammed, saying Mohammed is the last Prophet, and Jesus wasn’t crucified after all! Christians believe non-Christians won’t be saved, and Muslims believe non Muslims won’t be saved! Are Jehovah and Allah two people, in which case God’s not monotheistic, or are they one, in which case God contradicts Himself?

  22. dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ Shloka

    By the way, many thanks for that link.

    Thanks for appreciating, although I must admit that the part about ‘process theology’ was in my opinion too much geared towards monotheistic ideology as if the writer already wanted to apologize for the almost radical deviation from established religious thinking that process philosophy will lead to.
    But this is way out of topic.

  23. timdog says:

    Shloka said:

    Best would be a total population exchange, where Muslims could have authoritarian Governments, banned sects like Ahmadiyya,Wahabbi preachers and terrorist attacks on each other to their hearts’ content.

    Shloka you are less than a breath from “Mussalman ka do hi stan, Pakistan ya kabristan” with that one…
    “Population exchanges” are usually effective genocides; “population exchanges” create disenfranchised, dispossesed people; “population exchanges” are, in essence, about the dehumanising of individual living, breathing people into political capital, figures on a page, generic representatives of “race” or “religion”…
    Calling for “population exchange” denies the humanity of a Muslim from, say, Orissa, bound to his place, his patch of earth by generations, and with no more in common with a Punjabi, a Pashtun or a Sindhi than with you… And if he, or indeed your “Ismaili friends” didn’t want to go – the only other place for them? The “graveyard”?
    And here’s something else, with India “free of Muslims”, they wouldn’t pause for breath before they came for the Christians… and then… and then…
    For me, you slipped beyond a certain line with that comment…

    Lairedion – Angry eyes are good – don’t be ashamed of them 😉
    Books rank alongside, and give me very much the same feeling as punk music and surfing or being somewhere absurdly outlandish and surrounded by high mountains, and I rate them on the same level… I don’t intend to be in any way elitist about it, but debates and arguments are usually driven by examples and points of reference. PLease don’t take offence at them, and if you want to get me back, you can pepper your replies with obscure football references that will leave me feeling naked and confused 😉

  24. Shloka says:

    timdog,

    Well Muslims did do a near total population exchange in Pakistan, and they’re doing it in Kashmir as well. Thousands of Kashmiri Hindus live in refugee camps in the rest of India, but of course, its very important for others to be more understanding of Muslims intolerance, while exaggerating their own intolerance and misogyny, or else the tolerant Muslims will also be turned into bin Ladens, right? Hell, Muslims’ do a population exchange or better still population extermination wherever they live. In Iraq, in the 16th century, half the population was Christian, today they’re less than 5% ad fast diminishing, mostly fleeing to other countries or being forcibly converted to Islam.The proportion of Christians, a majority until the 20th century, is fast plummeting as well. It was very difficult for a Sindhi Hindu to fit in as well, post Partition. I can tell you from my experience that as a child I spoke in the East Bengal(Bangladeshi) dialect as thats’ what my parents’ spoke in. As a three year old in school, I was teased for the weird and funny way I spoke. And population exchange with Muslims’ won’t automatically extend to others’ as well.

    Lets’ see:

    If Muslims’ weren’t there in Spain, would the Basques be causing trouble? Yes.
    Would the Madrid train blast happen if Spain had only Christians, Hindus or and Buddhists? No.

    If Muslims’ weren’t in U.K., would there be some intolerance between the Hindu\Sikh migrants’ and the ethnic population, and between Irish Catholics and Protestants? Yes.
    Would the September 7th train bombing happen? No.

    If Muslims’ weren’t allowed in U.S.A., would there be some bad blood between Whites and Blacks\Hispanics and Asians? Yes.
    Would the Twin Towers collapse? No.

    If Muslims’ weren’t there in France, would the French still be burning cars? Yes.
    Would there be Paris bombing by Algerian Islamists’, riots’ between Catholics’ and Protestants’ and would jails overflow?No.

    If Muslims’ weren’t there in Israel, would the Ashkenazim be better educated than Shepardic Jews?Yes.
    Would there be perpetual bombings? No.

    If Muslims’ weren’t in Phillipines, would contraceptives be difficult to obtain? Yes.
    Would there be terrorism? No.

    Now lets’ turn to Muslim countries’.

    If Hindus weren’t there, would the Ahmadiyya be persecuted in Pak\Bangladesh and Indonesia? Yes.
    Would Bali still be bombed? Probably yes.
    Would Islamists still create havoc in Algeria? Yes.
    Would Iran and Saudi remain theocracies?Yes.
    Would there be bombing in Pak mosques? Yes.

    Similarly there would be some skirmishes(or more) between Hindus ad other faiths and not only other faiths but Hindus too would be at the receiving end. In Nagaland, for eg, Christians attack Hindu festivals.

    However, would there be perpetual attacks on Hindu temples, Indian public places and tourist spots? No.

    And I’m not including PLO, Latin Path and LTTE as they associate themselves with Marxism. There’s only one faith which causes death and destruction on a global scale at present and thats’ Islam.

  25. Patrick says:

    @ Shloka – While acknowledging that there is a real problem in the Islamic world, I think the Indonesian Muslim who visit this web site have shown remarkable patience and tolerance for your very inflammatory remarks about their religion. There are over 1 billion Muslims throughout our shrinking world and we can no longer isolate ourselves from that reality. The vast majority of Muslims live good peaceful lives and love their families and neighbors. They are often very kind, just and caring people and they all should not be judged harshly for the actions of a few. Please give the majority good Muslims the respect that is their due and tone down your remarks. Thanks!

  26. timdog says:

    People, Shloka, they are people; they are human beings, as diverse and as varied in their outlook and their feelings and their humanity as all the other people you are unable to pin down with your derogatory labels.
    But then that is always what people who believe that their religion, their race, their nation is superior to others find extremely difficult to recognise… I have no idea what that feels like, but objectionable as it appears to the outside, I suppose there must be some intense sense of belligerent pride, particularly as you despatch “them” to the “graveyard”…
    The “9/11” pilots, the thug who burns a church or sweeps down on “them”, whoever “they” may be, machete in hand, would understand that; I wouldn’t though…

  27. dewaratugedeanom says:

    People, Shloka, they are people; they are human beings, as diverse and as varied in their outlook and their feelings and their humanity as all the other people you are unable to pin down with your derogatory labels.

    Those jilbabed demonstraters in the streets of Jakarta the days after 9/11, holding up pictures of their ‘hero’ Osama bin Laden, are they also people, human beings?

  28. dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ Patrick

    There are over 1 billion Muslims throughout our shrinking world and we can no longer isolate ourselves from that reality.

    Please give the majority good Muslims the respect that is their due and tone down your remarks. Thanks!

    Another typical PC bule remark. Because there are so many and also a lot – even a majority – of good Muslims, we all have to shut up and are not allowed to criticize a dangerous ideology which they label as ‘faith’.

  29. Shloka says:

    @ timdog,

    I agree the Muslim world is very diverse, and similar groups of people who’re non Muslims are often at war too, but in a large number of countries its Muslims’ who seem to have trouble adjusting. There are Hindus\ Buddhists in Europe as well, yet there isn’t that paranoia about them nor do they fill up jails and cause rapes, terrorist bombings and riots. There’s this perception about Muslims’ through much of the world thats’ poor, and there’s seldom smoke without fire, you know…

    And pardon me for believing this, but Muslim fundamentalism isn’t a case of ebb ad flow of religious fundamentalism . Christians were very fanatic throughout history, and Hindus persecuted Dalits in their own faith. Muslim fundamentalism and violence didn’t become so obvious then, because everyone else was doing it too. Today however, they stick out like a sore thumb.

    Buddha had said, ” Never in this world does hatred cease by hatred, hatred ceases by love.” And “let a man overcome anger by kindness, evil by good.” Buddhism’s last vestige in Afghanistan, the Bamiyan Buddhas were utterly destroyed by fanatic Muslims. Hinduism has almost vanished from Pakistan, and Christianity from Iraq. Islam however, flourishes in both the West and India. My family couldn’t of course continue staying in Bangladesh and when I see Bangladeshi illegal immigrants’ in almost every city of India( I know them by their accent) I definity feel unease for my country’s and my faith’s future. Unease is turned to real petrification however, when Bangladeshi terrorists “Huji” bombed Jaipur for no rhyme, reason or provocation. Then they sent messages that they’ll “destroy the faith of the infidels'” although the infidels’ of Jaipur had done nothing to them at any time. Should all those troubled by Muslims’ over the world turn into Christ and “turn the other cheek”?

  30. Patrick says:

    Sloka says – “The Egyptians were a literate society, and if such a 400 year enslavement happened, there’d be some records, right?”

    Not necessarily as ancient people were in the real habit of writing history that made them look favorable even if it was not true. An example for that is the Mernephtah Stone which was erected around 1220 BC to commemorate a victory over Israel and that claimed the Egyptians had completely annihilated the Jewish people form the earth. We know that is not true as there are many million of Jewish people alive and well today. Actually, the Torah was a unique document in its time because it did record both the good and the bad things that the Jewish people did in their history. Also, during the past 15 years or so a few prominent archaeologist and scholars have come forward proposing that the time line for the Egyptian dynasties may be all wrong. For many years it has been believed that the Jews were enslaved at the time of the 18th dynasty but the new time lines being proposed say it should have been the 12 th dynasty. When that is done there is more than enough circumstantial evidence to support what the bible says about Jews being slaves and plagues visiting Egypt.

    Shloka says “Christians believe non-Christians won’t be saved, and Muslims believe non Muslims won’t be saved!”

    Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say. It states, “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day” (CCC 841).

    I have heard from many Muslims friends that Christians and Jews are also considered to be people of the book. Perhaps we can hear from the Muslims on this thread what Islam has to say about this matter? Thanks and peace!

Comment on “Religion & Religiosity”.

RSS
RSS feed
Email

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-20
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact