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. timdog says:

    Dewa – yes, they are “human beings”; stupid, infuriatingly idiotic human beings – possibly, in that specific case, dangerous, possibly just stupid – but there’s no shortage of that ilk in this world.
    Shloka’s position, ultimately, is probably: no, they’re not really human beings, at least not human beings of equal value and status with her, and given the impossibility of separating the wheat from the chaff, the ones who would march or bomb from the ones who wouldn’t, she would just a soon send all of them, and everyone else with the misfortune to have been tagged with a Muslim name, regardless of what they actually think or do, to Pakistan – or to the graveyard.

    Here’s something interesting Shloka: the emergence of politicised, aggresive religion of a kind that certainly regards itself as “something similar to the great monotheistic faiths” and that revels in pseudo-militaristic marching and calisthenics (with nasty fascistic undertones) and that expounds racial and cultural supremicism and seeks, by way of expansionist violence if necessary, to reinstate some triumphal hey-day of the religion as seen through the cracked prism of the centuries IN YOUR OWN FAITH is also, like the rise of “Islamism” as we know it today, a modern phenomenom, a product of the 20th Century.
    Perhaps you would be better served by trying to understand the specific conditions, the specific circumstances of the previous century that gave rise to such things than by trawling through the ancient past, grabbing and dusty old bits of scripture… still, I don’t suppose that would be of much interest to you, given that all you’re really interested in is despatching “them” to one or other of the only two places considered suitable…

    Patrick – the Q’uran says that Christians, Jews are assured of a place in heaven and have nothing to fear; it also says you can’t be friends with a Jew, and various other things: like all sacred texts, it is thoroughly contradictory, leaving you to make of it what you will. At this point Shloka will respond by saying something about acknowledging that Islam has been tolerant of other montheistic religions, but what about the polytheists? What does it say about them, eh?
    You’re right Shloka! Only one place for these sub-human Muslim dogs! Let’s get digging; we’re going to need one billion holes!

  2. Lairedion says:

    Don’t attack Shloka. She said some true words with

    There’s only one faith which causes death and destruction on a global scale at present and thats’ Islam.

    With the help of PC Bules Islam is doing a good job lately.

  3. Patrick says:

    @ Lairedion as the top PC Bule at IM with 487 comments for the year and counting, what would be your solution to the Islamic extremist problem?

  4. djoko says:

    I think use of the term ‘PC Bule’ has finally reached the stage (at least on this board) where it can be thrown in with the words ‘communist’ and ‘kafir’ as being nothing more than a tool to try and shut down alternative opinions. Congratulations to all those involved!

  5. Shloka says:

    @timdog,

    What I believe and know about the Muslim world is backed to the hilt by experience just like your knowledge is, but I have some experience that you don’t have-and will find very difficult to have. You asked me about my Ismaeli friend, right? I’ll tell you,tis particular friend who’s dating my brother is the daughter of an Ismaeli father and an Ahmadiyya. Her mother’s family had emigrated to Pakistan post Partition, however due to discrimination, they returned to India, and she says that although Indian Hindus are sometimes intolerant, they’ve felt much safer here. For me, thats’ a very big testimony of India’s tolerance. Now I know that if all Muslims’ were like Ismaelis or Turkey’s Alevis, there’d be little cause for concern, however as you yourself acknowledged in the Good and Bad Citizens’ thread, these tiny sects are looked upon as heretics even by Muslims’. You also felt that banning the Muslim Brotherhood or FPI was no solution, but even acknowledged you have no solution.

    I also have other Muslim friends’ including a Bohra Muslim friend. When we were about 12, she didn’t come to school for a fortnight. When she came back, she told us she’d been taken to a woman who asked her to open her skirt and knickers. She did as she was told, but was alarmed when she saw the woman snipping of her pubic parts. Now, it takes her 10 minutes to urinate. While you mention a Hindu atrocity in some Indian rural backwater, this girl is the daughter of a college Professor. I guarantee you wouldn’t be privy to such information, however much you travel.If I say that Jinnah’s action showed double standards, its because I’ve seen my father’s Muslim friends merrily drinking, Muslim boys in my class happily dating Hindu\Christian girls’ which their parents know about and are fine with, however those boys’ sisters say their parents will “kill” them if they have boyfriends. Maybe its different in Indonesia, however this is what usually happens in the sub continent.

    And when did I deny Muslims’ their equality? Was it when Pakistan became a Muslim nation while India remained secular, and let their private affairs be governed by Shariah? No, they denied Hindus their humanity when they en masse butchered Hindus in Pak or forced them to emigrate. Every Court gives people a right to self defence, however you’d rather I and Hindus like me, have no right to self defence?

    Osama bin Laden declared India Muslims’ biggest enemy, followed by Israel and America? Allright, so America stations troops in Saudi, Israel occupied Arab lands, but is India’s only fault that it remained secular while giving Muslims’ an Islamic country?

  6. timdog says:

    Shloka, what I object to, over and over and over, is your patent inability to view “these people” as human beings. It seems to you that a person is first and foremost “a Muslim” by merit of their name or birth, and that’s all that matters to you (unless they happen to be a compliant, cap-doffing adherent of one of your quaint little pet sub-sects the Ismailis or the Alevis). This makes your outlook exactly that of the hysterical beardie who sees only “infidels”, or the American baboon-brain who sees only “Us” and “Them”. Swing the knife first and ask questions later – or better yet, ask no questions at all.
    Your outlook is depressingly typical of Subcontinental tribalism, which, as I have said before, I understand the causes of, but which I don’t need to find attractive…
    Quite plainly, throughout all this you have been on the brink of making outright calls for subjugation, ejection or extermination of a huge swathe of people merely on account of their name, and you are forever extrapolating your “Indian” perspective outwards and outwards to far corners of the world with different histories, different conditions.
    I really don’t think there’s much more to say, but before we draw it to a close why don’t you just come out and say it:
    “Mussalman ka do hi stan…”; it’s patently obvious that it’s what’s in your heart…

  7. Shloka says:

    @ timdog,

    You can say whats in your heart as well, all Muslims everywhere are pitiful, they need our understanding and sympathy, so even if Pakis drove Hindus out, Indians can’t do the same. Everything which goes wrong in the Muslim world is someone else’s fault, and even if you complain rather justly about India’s f***ed up social system, I can’t utter a word about Islam’s attitude to polytheists. Incidentally the point about Islam causing problems in much of the world, isn’t a viewpoint restricted to me, it has many adherents in this forum, and Europeans, Americans, Thais and Filipinos also agree to it. To quote Mark Steyn who’s perhaps far more Islamophobic than me, “Like environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.”

    Go on, ask Pakis and Bangladeshis to continue immigration to India, and when they constitute a majority, to erase Hinduism from India, just like they erased Christianity from Iraq, indeed erasing Hinduism will be sanctioned in their Holy Book, unlike erasing Christianity- its patently obvious thats whats in your heart too.

  8. Patrick says:

    Genesis 16:10-12

    “I will make your descendants so numerous added the Lord’s messenger, that they will be too many to count. Besides the messenger said to her:

    “You are now pregnant and shall bear a son
    You shall name him Ishmael
    For the Lord has heard you,
    God has answered you

    He shall be a wild ass of a man
    his hand against everyone,
    and everyone’s hand against him:
    In opposition to all his kin shall he encamp”

    This was told at the time of Abraham by a messenger of the Lord to Hagar the mother of Ishmael.

  9. dewaratugedeanom says:

    djoko said

    I think use of the term ‘PC Bule’ has finally reached the stage (at least on this board) where it can be thrown in with the words ‘communist’ and ‘kafir’ as being nothing more than a tool to try and shut down alternative opinions.

    The term PCB is just a generic term to designate a mentality, mostly prevalent in the West, to deny the presence of an elephant in the room. As a phenomenon this mentality has probably its roots in the recent past but it nevertheless has a tendency to complicate the obvious.

    But I appreciate that at least you also included the term ‘kafir’ in the same category.

  10. timdog says:

    Sorry Shloka, I didn’t quite catch that – did you just say “Let’s lock all Muslims in mono-ethnic territorial prisons and send to the graveyard all those who refuse to comply”? I think you did, but I’m not quite sure…. Just one of the many reasons for my not liking that idea is that it clearly casts a rather horrible shadow over the continued existance of all the non-Muslims in places like Indonesia (actually, that idea would prompt the instantaneous collapse of the Indonesian nation-state, but that’s another issue)…
    What’s in my heart is clearly not what you think; it’s this: people, first and foremost, are individual human beings and we must, if we too are to retain our own humanity, judge them as such; if not we become Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden, Hitler. There is, quite clearly, a current world-wide trend towards politicised Islamism, carrying within it the distinct, clearly defined issue of “Jihadi” violence; it is part of a general 20th-Century trend towards extremism of all kinds, given special impetus by, amongst other things, the rise and subsequent retreat of European colonialism, the creation of Pakistan, the partition of the Middle East, good old fashioned poverty, and in the specific case of “jihadi” violence, the Soviet war in Afghanistan… Not surprisingly, given my generally more sympathetic eye, it probably pains and concerns me more than you (you just give yourself over to simplistic rage and hate). And what I know, given that one billion Human Beings happen to be, in some shape or form, Muslim, is that “Pakistan or the graveyard” and viscious blanket condemnations will get us absolutely nowhere.
    On final time, I understand that you have profound and fiery feelings about “My family, my religion, my country” when it comes to your outlook on “them”, and that you are quite convinced that in your case they are unique and correct. But in that you are no different from anyone who has ever taken up the machete or the gun and headed for the street to embark on a bout of “ethnic cleansing”…

  11. Patrick says:

    @Dewart – “The term PCB is just a generic term to designate a mentality, mostly prevalent in the West, to deny the presence of an elephant in the room”

    I really hope that elephant in your room stomps that annoying little Asian mouse running around wildly and ranting and raving in a desperate attempt to be heard! ha ha ha! Peace brother!

  12. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    Here’s the bit on Christian persecution of the Hellenes:

    ethnikoi.org/persecutions.html – 30k

    However, Christian nations especially those in Europe, Australia or U.S.A. today are among the most peaceful and richest. Even though I’m neither Western nor Christian, I have great respect for the ideas of women’s rights or democracy established by them.
    I just wanted to say tat I didn’t make that stuff up.
    @ timdog,

    How come when you mention your Paki buddies, you always mention their tolerance, but in case of an Indian you met, you quote,” Mussal…” At least that Indian kept his prejudice limited to words, Pakis showed,” hindu ke do hi stan, Hindustan ya Kabristan” by their actions, as Hindus and Sikhs form> 1% of Paki population. Does insecurity mean something to you? I don’t want to establish a Hindu Empire, just remain safe on my bit of land. The U.S. Department of State has named India the country worst affected by terrorism, and Osama calls us his biggest enemy.

  13. timdog says:

    Shloka, I will make one final attempt to explain…

    There are lots and lots of thoroughly nasty political Islamist extremists in Pakistan; I’ve actually met some of them – they are not at all nice. There are also some people who have traditionally been intense and chauvinistic about their religion (some Pashtuns for example), and many who haven’t and who aren’t.
    The Islamists have become increasingly voiciferous, and increasingly powerful; the rise of their influence has been noticible even in the short period of time that I have known Pakistan (though they are still a long, long way from being a majority there). They worry me immensely, and in my bleaker moments they terrify me given the terminal instability of Pakistan (but generally I have enough confidence in the enduring stability of the military to believe that nothing truly terrible will happen to Pakistan – though the fact that the military is the only reliable institution there is a shocking indictment in itself).

    HOWEVER – and this is what you resolutely fail to get – there are also huge numbers of people in Pakistan who are utterly at odds with everything the Islamists represent. Some of them are the “liberal middle classes”, some of them are old fashioned nationalists, many of them are traditionalists, deeply conservative in their own way (like the Chitralis). All of them are opposed to the Islamists, some of them make resolute personal stands against them either actively or simply by refusing to be cowed, or by rejecting the organised public practice of religion (I know a couple of people in Gilgit who have done this – devout Muslims themselves, but disgusted by the Shia-Sunni sectarianism deliberately inflamed in many of the town’s public mosques).
    But, because they are all “Muslims” you are incapable of seeing, acknowledging or accepting this. As far as you are concerned, all of them, every one of them is a shrieking, wild-eyed fanatic, howling at the doors of India, itching to sweep down and destroy you all (hah! as if any regional nation or force could ever do India much harm these days). You just condemn the lot of them as “the enemy”, which is, quite frankly, stupid and objectionable.
    Here’s something interesting: Pakistan, like India, has an awful lot of people just like you Shloka – educated, Anglophone middle class people. The ones in Pakistan happen to be Muslims; very, very, very many of them also happen to be deeply concerned and worried and disturbed and scared by the rise of Islamism (and all the other problems their country faces) – while remaining Muslim themselves, don’t forget. They discuss these things, fret about them, wonder what, if anything, they can do. None of them suggest “anihilating India”; none of them suggest “eliminating the minorities”.
    Now, I have to say this: over and over and over again in India you will come across educated, Anglophone middle class people who will within a few breaths start making absurdly crude and violent remarks about a blank, dehumanised mass known as “the Muslims”. I have never come across anything like it elsewhere: British hyseria about “asylum seekers”, Australian attitudes towards “the Abbos”, even Indonesian feelings about “the Chinese” don’t even come close… it is deeply disturbing….

    The “self defence”, “I just want to be safe in my own country” justification has been the tried and tested line of the racist and of those who call for genocide and ethnic cleansing since time began…

    ***

    On the separate issue of your “Islam itself is evil” proposition…
    There does exist a phenomenom of politicised religious extremism, of a kind that is aggresive and fundamentalist in its outlook, that seeks the re-institution of some glorious past of the faith, that practices militaristic expressions, that has a severely hostile attitude to religious minorities, in some cases calling either for their ejection from the land, their “return to the fold” by way of “conversion”, or even their extermination. This phenomenom rose throughout the 20th Century, and by its closing years had attained an unprecedented level of mainstream political influence. It is – you may have guessed where I was heading – Hindu-chauvinism. Of course, given that it is firmly rooted in place and race it doesn’t trouble most of us fortunate enough not to come from the Subcontinent, but that doesn’t mean we can dismiss either its alarming nature, or its significance as part of something much bigger.

    In seeking to explain it away Shloka will imediately start blethering about “self defense”. This is garbage. The roots of modern politicised Hindu-chauvenism lie in the same 19th century conditions that gave rise to the emergence of Wahabbi and Deobandi political Islamisms we know today, to aggresive Zionism, and for that matter to the secular political extremisms that blighted the 20th Century. Understand that and you will understand something of the nature of the Islamic “problem” of today, and will be able to approach and discuss it without making absurd, sweeping generalisations, without obliterating as some kind of intellectual collateral damage the millions and millions of Human Beings who happen Muslims without being Islamists (though let me make it very, very clear that by understanding this you don’t need to downplay the extent or alarming nature of “the problem”)…

    However, to do this requires a degree of sobriety, rationalism, and of course an absolute absence of tribalism; it may prove difficult for some…

  14. Lairedion says:

    Here are some interesting links that pretty much sum up why Pakistan is such an exemplary tolerant nation where all people can live in freedom and peace:

    PAKISTAN: Alarming Voices of Extremism

    Rising Intolerance Towards The Religious Minorities Of Pakistan

    Mgr John Joseph, blasphemy martyr, remembered

    But don’t you dare to become fed up with Islam after reading these articles because then you are part of the problem and on the verge to pick up a machete and head for the street on a bout of ethnic cleansing. The fact that the exemplary tolerant nation of Pakistan has almost annihilated its own religious minorities is of no relevance at all and should be disregarded.

    Such is the absurd and twisted way of thinking loads of PCB’s (thanks djoko) are suffering from.

    P.S. Patrick, that was no. 488 and counting. Insha’Allah there are many more to come.

    To answer your question, Islam itself cannot be reformed, neither do I trust Muslims to get rid of the political part of Islam and limit themselves to religious observance only to make sure they will make it to Heaven or whatever they believe in.

    We’d better put more emphasis on technology and science like fuel cells and hydrogen cars, combined with a genuine awareness of our environment, in order to become less dependent on oil, Islam’s main weapon. But I’m skeptical about this since cowboys like Bush, in their thirst for oil, are turning a blind eye towards the Saudis who can export their hateful Wahhabi ideology to other Muslim nations. So much for the War on Terror, it’s a joke.

  15. Shloka says:

    @ Lairedion

    I think Islam theoretically be reformed, just like say the horried excesses of caste in Hinduism, and even your grandparents suffered due to it, although they weren’t Hindus for many generations.. Today caste has been formally abolished, at least in theory, and India has\had many low caste Heads of State and Government. Orthodox Jews still thank God for not making them women, and the OT is also very violent. However, Israel even shelters homosexuals who’re persecuted in neighbouring countries. I think the problem is Muslims even those that are very tolerant, consider their religion faultless. The best of Muslims’ in India will want reactionary laws on women, and my Bohra friend’s father who’s a very intelligent Professor and helps us with maths, had his daughter “circumcized”. Bohra circumscision isn’t of the Indo variety, and my friend will live in lifelong pain. The problem is Islam refuses to acknowledge any wrong. How do you find a cure if you don’t acknowledge the disease in the first place? The world has taken great strides in the last few centuries, and many of Abraham Lincoln’s statements which were very progressive in his time, sound racist today. Why can’t Muslims’ acknowledge that everything in the Koran can no longer be followed?

  16. djoko says:

    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’.

    Sounds like a large elephant to ignore. You don’t have any PCB in you either do you?

  17. Janma says:

    Sloka Uvaca;

    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.

    I don’t know if this could be said to be true…. I can’t formulate why…. maybe because they could have done it anyway, without being ‘allowed’ in the USA….

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

    actually you could just as easily reverse this and ask, if Jews weren’t in Israel…. would there be perpetual bombing? NO.
    I’m pretty fed up with radical muslims, but in a way I feel like…. is all this trouble caused by Israel too? And the whole world is suffering for them…. kind of feels like overkill….

  18. Shloka says:

    @ Janma,

    There are far too many places which have bombings but are not in any way related to Israel. Even in Indonesia, the terrorist FPI’s threaten Civil War over Ahmadiyyas and the Government caves in and Bali is bombed twice. In Bangladesh, where I was born the Jamaat Ul Mujahedeen Bangladesh has a hundred thousand members and regularly kills judges and innocent people, all in an attempt to turn Bangladesh into a Shariah based state. In Algeria Islamists’ again wanting to impose Shariah law, have killed half a million and even bombed Paris, to extend their Jihad there.

    In any case, I don’t think the Middle East patriarchy is conducive to much peace.Even though I’m female, I think patriarchy can sometimes be very progressive. At its best it simply means men work in the outside world and its helped population growth in the days of devastating infant mortality. It was such a benevolent patriarchy which made the men of Titanic embrace death, while letting women take all the life boats. However,in the region from Saudi to Pak and even North West India, patriarchy means men kill their women in honor killings or kill many more men in blood feuds(blood feuds kill more men than honor killings kill women, but they get less attention). Such degenerate male tyrannies don’t work together for peace or progress, they’re always on the lookout for reasons to fight and kill. Even if Jews weren’t in Israel, much of the Middle East is run by tyrannical dictators and often at war between themselves- like Saddam attempted to wipe Kuwait off the map or the long Iraq-Iran war.Or the Muslims’ would simply feel offended that the West is trying to foist their depraved licentiousness onto their chaste women and devout men, and bomb the West in retaliation.Such a state would continue.

  19. dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ timdog

    Dewa – yes, they are “human beings”; stupid, infuriatingly idiotic human beings – possibly, in that specific case, dangerous, possibly just stupid – but there’s no shortage of that ilk in this world.

    Yes, I agree. At first sight they look like humans. But if a ‘faith’ can bring humans thus far that even the most elementary form of human compassion with innocent victims from a terrorist attack is twisted and downgraded into a display of sickening triumphalism about issues they only know from hearsay in their respective mosques and pesantren, then these ‘humans’, acting under the influence of such a ‘faith’, are on a dangerously downward slope called devolution.
    So o.k., there’s no shortage of that ilk in the world, but how to deal with them? I agree that digging a billion holes is no solution. But there are other ways which are quite simple and efficient too, a.o. boycott and avoidance, the so called cordon sanitaire</em, like not eating in places or buying products with the halal sign. This is also the way Apartheid got on its knees because it stimulates reform from within.

    @ Patrick

    I really hope that elephant in your room stomps that annoying little Asian mouse running around wildly and ranting and raving in a desperate attempt to be heard! ha ha ha!

    Childish reactions like this one usually gets when the other runs out of valid arguments.

  20. Patrick says:

    Hey Dewarat – when I read your posting to me I really laughed so hard & long my stomach ache ….you are really one funny guy! ha ha ha ha!

  21. dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ djoko

    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’.

    Sounds like a large elephant to ignore. You don’t have any PCB in you either do you?

    My mistake. I should have said: ” Because there are so many and also a lot – even a majority – of good people, born and raised accidently in places that came under the influence of Islam, a ‘religion’ established by an Arab so-called prophet with a book in one hand and a sword in the other, we all…

    But we only have to look under the Indonesian thread ‘Insiden Monas, FPI & AKKBB’ to see what how “peaceful” good Muslims can be, isn’t it?

  22. Patrick says:

    It seems several people on this thread have readily, eagerly and appropriately pointed out atrocities committed by Christians and Muslims through history but when confronted with evidence of atrocities committed by Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism they became quite defensive and appeared to be in denial that these types of religions could ever be part of an organized conspiracy to do harm to people of other faiths. You will recall that I mentioned the Japanese Buddhist influence of the military during WWII and after about 1 week of denial it was finally accepted with the caveat “it was only 5 years and therefore did not compare with atrocities committed by Christians for centuries”. Really do you know that the “Rape of Nanking most observers estimate between 150,000 to 300,000 people were killed by Japanese soldiers. Many of the woman victims were first raped. And if that was not shocking enough a United States classified document released only 7 months ago revealed an additional 500,000 people were similarly killed in areas outside Nanking prior to the city being attacked. These killings were done over a short period of time and nothing compares to it in the ancient world. The estimates of people murdered by the Japanese during WWII, in all countries, run from a low of 3 million to a high of over 10 million.

    Lairedeon says: “To answer your question, Islam itself cannot be reformed, neither do I trust Muslims to get rid of the political part of Islam and limit themselves to religious observance only to make sure they will make it to Heaven or whatever they believe in.”

    OK let look now at India and religious persecution by Hindus against Christians. The period between 1964 through 1976 saw only 34 cases of Hindu attacking Christians. During the next two years there were 114 cases reported of Hindus attacking Christians.
    By 1999 the numbers of attacks increased so much that they were mentioned by the United States Department of State in its “Annual Human rights report” as it criticized India for the increasing societal violence against Christians. The reported violence by Hindus included; arson of churches, forcible conversion of Christians to Hinduism, burning of Bibles, murder of Christian priests, raping of nuns and destruction of Christian schools, colleges, and cemeteries. Large amounts of anti-Christian hate literature were distributed around the times of the attacks. And here is the kicker, the ever increasing violence has been directly attributed to the rise in political power of the Hindu-Nationalist Party known as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). There you have it a direct link with the Hindu faith and politics. Does this mean that Hindus cannot be reformed nor trusted to get rid of the political part of Hinduism?

    Dewarat says “…then these ‘humans’, acting under the influence of such a ‘faith’, are on a dangerously downward slope called devolution.

    One very publicized attack occurred in January 1999 when an Australian missionary and his two sons (ages 7 & 9) were set on fire by Hindu Nationalist while sleeping in their car. The death occurred at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district. Later, Hindu activist Dara Singh was found guilty by an Indian court for leading the gang responsible. I cannot imagine a death more cruel than this incident.

    Perhaps, finally you will come to the realization that all man-kind are quite capable of the cruelest of atrocities against each other despite their religious affiliations or not. It stems from an arrogance that we some-how are superior in our dogma, faith, race and nationality than the other group. The truth is we can no longer afford to be divisive nor can we separate ourselves as too many of us are constantly being uprooted from one land to another and for all sorts of reasons. With full admission and agreement, the Islamic extremist problem is complex and there are no easy answers to be found so it may take quite a few years before it is finally rooted out but if all the nations and religions aforementioned can be reformed then why cannot Islam? Let us hope that “cooler heads prevail”.

  23. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    It seems some people like to cite mythology as historical proof. About the Egyptian Exodus, I’ve visited Egypt seen the Pyramids, the Valleys of Kings and Queens. The Egyptians kept extensive records of the most mundane details like the beasts hunted by Pharoahs in their paintings and heiroglyphic scripts. Yet there’s NOT A SINGLE MENTION of any Jewish slavery. Strange no? Extensive historical excavations have failed to unearth any proof and some eminent archaeologists like Israel Finkelstein, Zeiv Herzog and William G.Dever have dismissed the whole thing as fictional. Among the most accepted views about Moses are:

    1 Moses never existed.
    2 Moses was the Pharoah Akhenaten, father of boy king Tutenkhamen who had started a monotheistic cult “Atenism” centred around the sun god Aten and persecuted polytheists. This naturally enraged the majority polytheist population, so the Atenists fled Egypt, settled in Israel and began Judaism.
    3 There was a terrible plague or other epidemic raging through Egypt, and so many fled not from slavery, but from catching the fatal illness.

    Now Patrick, if you tell me that Empress Victoria was Queen of Great Britain, I’ll gladly accept. However, if you say that Sleeping Beauty, Snow White or Cinderella were Queens of Britain, cite Walt Disney movies as proof, and say”their lives are forever remembered as showing that dreams do indeed come true” I’ll be very wary. Got it?

    See how intolerant the monotheist God is? Even in his fiction, there are examples of how He defeats the “false polytheist gods.” Ever read legends of polytheist gods ganging up to defeat the megalomaniacal monotheist God.

    By the way Patrick since you said “false polytheist God” I presume you accept that the monotheist God is true, right? Which God is He then? The one called Jehovah who drove the Muslims out of Spain and killed and converted thousands of Jews and Muslims’ or the one known as Allah who gathered Jihadis for attacking the Twin Towers? If polytheist gods are false, which is true please, so I may worship it?

    I’ll come back later to your other issues.

  24. Lairedion says:

    Patrick,

    As I stated earlier, there will always be people around justifying their violence and intolerance with any of the religions of this world.

    However, if we limit ourselves at teachings and scripts, only in the Abrahamic religious teachings and scripts will we find so much hatred, violence and intolerance. The God as described in the Torah, Bible and Qur’an is, and I quote Richard Dawkins here, jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

    I challenged you earlier to find an equal amount of this crap in Hindu and Buddhist scripts. You still haven’t answered this. Limit yourself to the scripts and texts of Hinduism and Buddhism and you will be proven wrong.

    If you are more interested in violence, absurdities and hatred in the Abrahamic religions I advise you to read this website. It’s one my favourites.

    Skeptic’s Annotated Bible / Quran / Book of Mormon

  25. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    Here’s a lovely bit of news for you from India, given not by some Church Agency mind you but by BBC. Its Christians persecuting Hindus. The government in India’s north-eastern state of Tripura says it has evidence that the state’s Baptist Church is involved in backing separatist rebels. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said state police had uncovered details of the alleged link after questioning a church leader.Nagmanlal Halam, secretary of the Noapara Baptist Church in Tripura, was arrested late on Monday with a large quantity of explosives Mr Sarkar said that allegations about the close links between the state’s Baptist Church and the rebel National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have long been made by political parties and police. Now for the first time, he said, hard evidence supporting the allegations had been found. Mr Sarkar told the BBC that Mr Halam was found in possession of more than 50 gelatine sticks, 5kg of potassium and 2kg of sulphur and other ingredients for making explosives.
    Chief Minister Sarkar says he has proof. He said that two other junior members of the same church, arrested last week, had tipped the police off about the explosives which were meant for the NLFT rebels. The chief minister said that Mr Halam confessed to buying and supplying explosives to the NLFT for the past two years.Another church official, Jatna Koloi, was arrested in south Tripura last week. Police say Mr Koloi had received training in guerrilla warfare at an NLFT base last yearGuards have been placed outside the headquarters of the Baptist Church in Tripura’s capital, Agartala, to prevent possible attacks on it once the news of Mr Halam’s arrest spread. The NLFT is accused of forcing Tripura’s indigenous tribes to become Christians and give up Hindu forms of worship in areas under their control. Last year, they issued a ban on the Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja. The NLFT manifesto says that they want to expand what they describe as the kingdom of God and Christ in Tripura. The Baptist Church in Tripura was set up by missionaries from New Zealand 60 years ago. It won only a few thousand converts until 1980 when in the aftermath, of the state’s worst ethnic riot, the number of conversions grew.

    So you see, attacks on Christians aren’t all one way traffic. This makes me think, the Christians persecute Hindus and conversions grow. Exactly like as soon as Christianity became the official faith of the Roman Empire, it starting torturing pagans like it shows in that link and conversions grew. Seems they’re sticking to their original tactics. The Archbishop of Russia’s Orthodox Church has called Krishna an “evil demon” while Hindus worship Jesus as another God.

    By the way Patrick since you’re so keen to defend Islam being a Catholic, why don’t you ask Muslim countries to allow missionaries. Barring very few like Indonesia which allow missionaries, the rest like Malaysia ad Algeria imprisons missionaries if they’re very tolerant, while in Saudi, Afghanistan and many others missionaries and converts to Christianity are executed.

    .

    .

  26. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick

    Since you mention Japanese killings, the lowest estimate of Christian Germany’s killings alone is 34 million including 6 million Jews, yet those aren’t explicitly religious. I’d not call America’s attack on Vietnam a Christian country’s attack on a Buddhist one, simply a war on Communism. Thats certainly not denying it happened, simply not giving it a religious dimension.

    Here are some explicit religious killings by Catholics in Croatia in Ustasa.
    On 1941-JUL-22, Dr. Mile Budak, the Ustaša Minister of Education and Cults, said: “The movement of the Ustashi is based on religion. For minorities-Serbs, Jews and Gypsies, we have three million bullets. We shall kill one part of the Serbs. We shall transport another, and the rest of them will be forced to embrace the Roman Catholic religion. Thus, our new Croatia will get rid of all Serbs in our midst in order to become one hundred percent Catholic within ten years.”

    During 1941 to 1943, the regime slaughtered at least 250,000 Serb residents of Croatia and Bosnia, and more than 20,000 Jews. Most were systematically exterminated at the Jasenovac concentration camp, and similar facilities. “Ustaša units, often encouraged by Catholic clergy, carried out a program of compulsory conversion of Orthodox Serbs to Catholicism; resistance often resulted in murder. Some Serbs, particularly members of the elite, were not even offered the option of conversion to avoid being killed.”

    Estimates put the death toll at one million.

    And I agree with you that the missionary’s death is cruel and condemnable. Yet he was a missionary, come to convert people from Hinduism into Christianity. What did the poor Greek Pagans or Jews do to deserve torture and death? They were killed simply for holding onto their original identity.

  27. Patrick says:

    My last commentary seems to have “ruffled some feathers” at the very people it was aimed judging by their postings. First I will address Shoka:

    1. Let’s agree to disagree about Moses. I say that because despite of the fact the story of the “exodus” is so unique in human history as there is nothing comparable in any other culture. What kind of God would make His people wander a desert for 40 years when the “Promised Land” was only a few hundred miles away from Egypt where they had started their journey? What kind of God gives His people written commandments to live by and that are just? What kind of God has Moses lead such a “stubborn stiff necked people” that constantly complain about Moses despite all the miraculous things they have witnessed all the while being sustained on manna from heaven? Strange stuff indeed!

    2. As far as fairy tales? Yes, I worship a Monotheistic God and I do so unapologetically. You worship the creation and I worship the Creator and thats our major difference. (See Paul’s writings in Romans)

    3. your next two postings concerning Nazi atrocities and other Christian atrocities was previously predicted by me as I said “It seems several people on this thread have readily, eagerly and appropriately pointed out atrocities committed by Christians and Muslims through history but when confronted with evidence of atrocities committed by Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism they became quite defensive and appeared to be in denial that these types of religions could ever be part of an organized conspiracy to do harm to people of other faiths.” You are really getting very predictable! Unfortunately, you never commented on my last paragraph which sought to find common ground where we could agree that all man-kind is guilty of committing atrocities and that we all needed to move away from Factionalism thinking and begin to start realizing that we are all in this world together. We all make the world what it is!

    4. Shloka says: “And I agree with you that the missionary’s death is cruel and condemnable. Yet he was a missionary, come to convert people from Hinduism into Christianity.

    What exactly do you mean by “Yet he was a missionary…”. In your mind did this somehow justify the killings? That missionary had a name it was Graham Staines and his two sons were Philip and Tim. The family was ran a home for those with leprosy. There is an excellent article from the NY Times (what not a Christian source?) : > ) where his widow and mother of his murdered sons forgives all the people involved or who watched the murders taking place. She became the talk of India! India Supreme court judge, D. P. Wadhwa said”By her conduct, she has put to shame, if they have any shame, not only the perpetrators of the crime but all those who directly or indirectly may have sympathy for them,” he said. Where is your shame Shoka? Perhaps you are shameless?

  28. Lairedion says:

    Patrick said:

    What kind of God gives His people written commandments to live by and that are just?

    Aah, these just commandments are the pleasantries as described in Leviticus. What kind of God desires that from people?

  29. Shloka says:

    @ Patrick,

    This time I’ve majorly ruffled your feathers, it seems. I’m sorry to you and to all other Muslims I’ve hurt by my comments.

    I’d like to clarify, its upto you to accept or reject it.

    1) Moses, yes you can accept that story in its entirety. You can also believe that Adam and not apes are our ancestors and the Earth is not billions but 6000 years old. Fair enough, just as many Shintos are entitled to their beliefs that every object has a kami(soul) or Wiccans believe in their many goddesses. But in an earlier post, you gave the Moses story as an authentic one about Jewish slavery and the monotheistic God defeating polytheistic gods. In the absence of scientific or historical evidence I’m sure you wouldn’t accept the story of Wiccan Goddesses. Similarly, in the absence of historical or scientific evidence, I won’t accept the Jewish slavery or Adam and Eve. As for the story of Exodus being “unique” well you may find it that way, a Hellenic neopagan may find the story of “Illiad” unique and more interesting, or a Buddhist may find the Jatakas unique. Just like you might find Angelina Jolie very beautiful, I might not. Its subjective. I am not compelled to accept the story unique- I might find it dumb, as you may find Greek epics.

    2) Yes you may worship your monotheistic God unapologetically, you have full freedom to do so. You may take your pick of – The Jewish Jehovah who says all good people not just Jews can have a satisfactory next life, God who says all non Christians however good will burn in Hell or Allah who says Muslims will go to a superior heaven, some Christians and Jews will go to an inferior Heaven or Hell(he says contradictory things at times) and others however good will burn in Hell. Indeed in most countries of the world, barring Islamic nations where you can’t ditch Allah, you can select which version of this self contradicting monotheistic God you want to worship. And unlike Exodus which is unprovable, the monotheistic God often defeats one or another version of Himself. For eg, during Moorish conquest of Spain Allah defeated God and settled his followers in Spain, while during the Spanish Reconquista, God defeated Allah and banished, killed or converted thousands of Jews and Muslims. You may also believe and very legally believe that you worship the creator and I the created and tell me so as well. But you can’t force me to accept the Exodus as historical without solid proof, and the Egyptian polytheists won’t be made villains in my eyes without any historical proof so if you cite the Bible and nothing else as your proof, I won’t accept. Just like you won’t accept a Wiccan story if there are no records in history. You’d call Wiccan legends fiction or fairytale and I’d call the Biblical stories fairytale.Please if you want to prove a point, state authentic history acceptable to all.

    3) And in which line did I say that the missionary deserved his death? I said its tragic and condemnable and I know the incident, you don’t need to repeat it to me. What I said was that, forget missionaries who proselytize, even ordinary Jews or pagans who didn’t convert Christians only wanted to stick to their ancestral beliefs were mercilessly butchered. Missionaries by the way come and go freely in India WITHOUT VISAS. As you have yourself stated, the killers were punished. As I’ve shown in that BBC report, Hindus killing Christians isn’t one way traffic, Christians have killed Hindus or attacked Hindu festivals as well. Mother Teresa as a missionary received many laurels in India. And in a country of 800 million Hindus, such missionary killigs might happen once in a while, just like gays are killed in U.S.A. and just like a group called”Dotbastards” have attacked Hindus in U.S.A.If it were endemic in India the Christian population of India would dwindle wouldn’t it, just like the Christian population in Iraq and Pak have dwindled.Christianity flourishes in India. Abortion clinic staff are attacked,threatened and killed too, and very cruelly killed and maimed but the killers are punished by law.

    And since you’ve so strongly defended Islam, while calling Buddhism a philosophy and polytheistic gods “false” please ask the Muslim nations to allow missionaries like India and Buddhist Thailand do. Why is leaving Islam a capital punishment in many Muslim nations and why is distributing Gospels illegal? Why doesn’t Saudi have a single church while India, Japan and Thailand are teeming with churches?Japan, Thailand, India and Nepal allow missionaries freely and the price they pay is ingratitude from missionary faiths. Hundreds of Korean missionaries were held hostage in Afghanistan.

    Finally in that attitude of “I worship the creator and you the created” sums up the difference between non monotheists and monotheists(excepting Jews).While Christianity\Islam condemn non believers to Hell, there’s not a single word in Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Wicca, Hinduism, Greek or Nordic paganism, Jainism which says only the followers of that particular doctrine would be saved.Polytheistic gods and Agnostic philosophies welcome non believers with open arms and thats why Jews have lived in India and China for millennia without any Anti Semitism.While looking down at a black is called “racism” monotheists similarly look down at non monotheists about an unproven God. The religions you call “false” and “philosophies” don’t look at other faiths in contempt, they respect them.

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