Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Problem With Religion...

Is...Most people don't really know what they believe in.

That was definitely true of my upbringing, which happened to be Catholic.

I was one of the public school kids that had to spend one long afternoon each week in one of the Church's classrooms, for what was called CCD.

What CCD stands for, I couldn't tell you. Google it if you like, I'm sure you'll find the answer, I just don't really care right now. But that shows my point.

To further my point, I got sent to talk to the Sister, she was the principal, because...

I'm getting ahead a little.

OK, we had these workbooks in probably 3rd or 4th grade, they talked about stories of Jesus, among other things, and our teacher would tell us what it all meant.

I asked where did this story come from, she would answer, the Bible.

So I wanted to see it.

She didn't want to do take out the Bible and read the correlating story, because, we wouldn't understand.

I said I didn't believe what was in the workbook, and we went back and forth, and back and forth...

Finally, I got up, and threw my workbook in the trash.

So like I was saying, I had to go see the Sister.

When I got there, I had to tell her I threw my workbook in the trash.

She went to her self, grabbed a copy of the same workbook, and put it in front of me.

"Who is that on the cover of that workbook?" She asked.

It was a picture of Jesus, on the cross, as a silhouette, due to the sun setting behind him.

My heart dropped, and I was pretty sure I was going to hell. I was only about 9 years old after all.

What is the point of all this?

My challenge to see the stories right from our Holy Book was met with what?

Yes, good for you, we want you to truly understand this beautiful religion of ours?


I got, don't you dare question us! If you do, we will put the fear of going to hell in you.

You've got to be wondering where this is all heading.

E Mullah is one of those Muslims I've been waiting to see come forward.

He is intelligent, well spoken, well educated in Islam, and peaceful.

He has been written a fantastic piece on his Blog, titled Blasphemy parts I, II and III.

These are in response to the 'cartoons', part III is the big one, and here is a piece of it that I'd like to discuss briefly...

Apart from the issue that depiction of prophet of Islam is prohibited in paintings and pictures, or how west would respond considering it a war of liberty, and whether these acts of iconic blasphemy have occurred in Muslim tradition as well or not, no one is telling us:

  • How Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH) would have reacted if he would have been alive today and confronted this issue?
  • Do Muslims have a right to demand an apology from a non-muslim who is living under a different government or set of moral values?
In order to answer these two questions let's assume for the sake of argument that Prophet is alive today and some acts of, so called, blasphemy are committed so that we can learn something from him. This assumption should not be unreasonable as Muslims believe in tradition of the Prophet and should do the same as their Prophet would do. Therefore, I imagine the following acts as blasphemous from Muslim sensibility's point of view; happening to prophet of Islam in front of the eyes of Muslims who have chosen to take streets in protest:

  • A Bedouin arrives and start beating the prophet; everyone rushes to stop him...
  • Another Bedouin arrives and desecrates the prophet's place of worship in response to nature call. Everyone rushes to beat him up...…
  • People of 'Tiaf' valley stoned him in response to his invitation to Islam and he bleeds so profusely from head to toe that his shoes are filled with his blood. Even heaven and earth could not take it anymore and angel Gabriel descends from haven to offer punishment to blasphemous beings ...
  • A woman is so sick of prophet that she starts throwing her daily household waste on him....
  • People mock at him; call him a magician; and a liar....
  • People make fun of him in every possible way.....
  • Least but not last they make caricatures of Prophet in newspapers...
All the blasphemy scenarios except the last --which has just occurred-- happened in his life time and the only thing he offered in response was mercy.

  • He forgave the Bedouin who would beat him.
  • He let the Bedouin finish his nature call and after that ordered his companion to wash and clean the Masjid. Only thing he said to Bedouin was this is not a place to relief ones self from natures call.
  • He not only refused the punishment offered by angel Gabriel to people of Tiaf but remarked as well that they don'’t know what they are doing?
  • One day the woman did not throw anything on him so he knocked at her door to inquire if she is doing alright. He found out that she is ill and he did the best by taking care of her and cleaning her house.
  • In all the other events he did not let emotions run over rather stayed calm and remained merciful.
Looking at the tradition of Prophet, I am sure if the cartoon event had occurred when he was alive he would have smiled at his followers and dismissed their protests and said they don't know what they are doing. Why no one is talking about that? If Prophet had allowed Muslims to respond in all of the above circumstances with force it meant that he would allow them to worship his-self. He was an embodiment of mercy. The truth is that Allah would tell him that he is angry with mankind and people who oppose him but the Prophet in his prayers always beg Allah for his mercy for the entire mankind.

Great points.

First, this sounds like a very peaceful Prophet, someone that would forgive, and forgive, as a merciful, peaceful leader. He sounds a lot like Jesus in that sense, and neither sound much like the Sister I had to deal with.

I have had some email exchanges with E Mullah, and I thought it best to rattle the Peaceful Muslims cages a bit to get them out to speak up against violence perpetrated in the name of Allah.

I must admit, after reading E Mullah's words, that may be misguided.

However, my concern is that not enough Muslims know these stories.

If they knew why Muhammad was not supposed to be painted or depicted, they would see that just the fact that they are protesting, is Deifying him.

Lastly, I want to say, from an American/Western standpoint, with free speech, comes responsibility.

It is true that we should be able to say, write, or draw anything we want, however, we should be mindful of what we say.

Is our purpose to merely offend?

That may be considered irresponsible, but it should be protected.

Especially since, how seriously do you take someone that is irresponsible?

Not very.

It appears that both sides have something to learn here.

Muslims could learn that calling for violence over cartoons is wrong, and Westerners adding fuel to that fire, just because they can, is also wrong.

My hope for the world is that we all just understand eachother, while standing up for what we believe in.

It seems E Mullah and I, and most people I know, would want nothing but peace for the world, peace between Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all religions, and even Athiests.

The bottom line is that if God/Allah saw all of these mentioned groups getting along, learning peaceful things from eachother...

...wouldn't he be 'very pleased' with his creation?


Blogger JMJ said...

Outstanding stuff!! I could not have said it better myself!!

I especially liked the part about you throwing your workbook into the trash!! I wish I'd had the balls of that little 9 yr old kid!! :)


Your past experiences have prepared you to do just this kind of work. Right now, there is no higher calling!

Keep up the good work!!

6:56 AM  
Anonymous emullah said...

WOW! Brilliant

By the way these days CCD is a new technology stands for charged-coupled device that is being used in camcorders. So you may like to explain CCD little bit

9:20 AM  
Blogger JMJ said...

e mullah,
thanks for the feedback on CCD.

Here I have been so good about leaving you alone for your dissertation work and you are still on the blogs! At least this one. ;) I know, probably just a quick break. Good to hear from you! :)

3:09 PM  
Blogger Fu2rman said...

OK, JMJ, I'm disappointed in you!

You've mentioned the Nuns at your Catholic School, and you didn't tell us what CCD meant.

Just kidding of course, I know being that you went to Catholic school, you never had the wonderful experience of wasting one afternoon a week in CCD.

But, so there is no confussion between 'charge-coupled device', and the Catholic version, which is 'Confraternity of Christian Doctrine'.

I had to go search for it myself...

5:48 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Like you say most people don’t know much about their religion. It is interesting that since you were raised a Catholic, you learned from the church instead of the Bible as a Protestant might. I grew up with Catholics and many of the people at work have been educated (through college) in Catholic institutions. I seem to know more than they do about their religion and its history. I’m not sure if this is different for Protestants.

I find that most Muslims are very ignorant of their religion. I’ve argued with a few devout militant types and have often found two scenarios. Type #1 knows what I’m talking about and has spin to make the most vicious events of Mohammad’s life sound reasonable. Type #2 doesn’t believe me, looks it up on their favorite website, and than becomes like type #1.

The militants know that the peaceful episodes are from Mohammad’s early Meccan period and superseded (abrogated) by his later Medinan period. The average Muslim (the moderate) doesn’t know which is which. Thus, the examples of Mohammad requesting the assassination of verbal critics (including a Poetess feeding her baby) is an example which militants will hold as a model for Islam in power.

Moderates are fine people … too bad they can’t find a reason why Mo’s rule in Medina should be repudiated.

8:41 AM  

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