Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Challenge My Taboos Respectfully

The brain behind caricaturing Prophet Mohammad might have wished to awaken Muslims, especially those living in secular European states, to a reality befitting our modernist era. The intended reality is simply manipulated.

Religion, like love and beauty, seems to us quite irrational. It differs from science because we, keen on objective evidence, are incapable of testing all relevant parameters.

This doesn't permit us to handle the irrational with matching irrationality, though. In other words, trying to put out a raging fire with petrol would be painfully self-defeating.

When most Muslims condemn terrorist acts of their co-religionists, their call for recognizing Islam as a pacifist religion by Westerners is, sometimes with tentative reasons, overlooked. Stereotyping is the last thing a multicultural society can afford to keep its coherence intact.

Sociologists advise us to avoid pigeonholing members of a race or religion by promoting a composite identity kit, one featuring a mixture of secular and patriotic allegiances. The best formula to achieve a frictionless collective identity is, thus, mutual respect.

Both Muslims and non-Muslims claim the other part fails to show enough respect towards its founding values. The key is tolerance.

Europeans say they have a right to freedom of speech and even to "blaspheme" and Muslims, traditionally conservative, must be understandingly tolerant.

I embrace the belief that in an open society, nobody is above the law and nothing is exempt from critique. "If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things," says the great thinker Rene Descartes.
I can't embrace the belief that in an open society, you are allowed to doubt things selectively and hypocritically.

In nine European countries, a shred of doubt about the Nazi Holocaust of Jews can easily put the suspect behind the bars. British PM Tony Blair last week called Iran's plans to hold a so-called academic conference on the topic as "ridiculous and stupid."
Sound minds condone neither Mr. Blair's blind reasoning nor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's branding Holocaust a "myth."

Challenging taboos is admirable since it serves the human race, but please do it respectfully. And without grudge.


At 2:06 PM, Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I think it was Sir Richard Burton (the explorer) who said: “The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself. “ When we challenge religious beliefs we risk conflict with the egos of the religion’s adherents.


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