Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lets keep the faith alive!

Bomb blasts in a Coptic church in Alexandria
- A suicide bomber killed around 23 people and wounded dozens on the fist day of the new year with this bomb blast.

In the light of the above incident there have been many christian - muslim protests on the streets, creating religious tensions between the followers of these two religions in Egypt. Of course all people with a rational mind are condemning this act of terrorism (Christians , Muslims alike). However whenever something like this happens, the emotional tide runs high. And this time is no different. The whole of social media is full of links to religious philosophies (the good), the videos & news pieces about the atrocities on one religion stemming from some other religion and so on. I have heard from my Muslim friends here that some Christian friends of theirs are taking it too way too personally and are sending smses to the effect of "Dont call me ever again"

With this, the endless phenomena of debates on religious differences have surfaced again, sometimes in the form of a heated discussion and sometimes a calm & civil exchange of ideas - whatever be the case, it stays conclusion-less....... and all this only goes to strengthen my staunch belief in- One world, One religion "Humanity"

Recently a dear friend (Muslim but agnostic) was telling us how a fundamentalist muslim friend of his was asking him if he hates the Christian Cross and how my agnostic friend was a bit agitated by this question, was trying to make his fundamentalist friend see the point (made some very good points!). He wrote an article about the incident and shared the same before publishing the same on Facebook (to check if the volatility quotient of the religious content was too high or passable for a media as open as Facebook), with some of his friends from different religions / countries (I believe). There were some very interesting viewpoints in terms of both the content itself and the expression used to convey authors point of view. I wish I could publish the article and the comments by different people here, however I cant for obvious reasons (no permission from the authors of the comments / article).

So I thought of sharing what I can - My point of view.

Copied & pasted from the comment box on the article.
Dear Friend,
I totally understand the feeling behind your retort. But you know maybe, just maybe we could just smile at the ignorance of these people who ask such questions.

My two cents....

I think "faith" should be a personal thing and should be treated like that. Dont get me wrong, no harm in opening a healthy intelligent conversation - but I feel it would be much easier if we just have some kind of a social rule about not questioning / scrutinising / opening debates on the topic of faith and just let people be.

Sometimes I wonder how people have no problems accepting & following the social rule of not asking / discussing/ commenting on subjects like income/finances (as an example - among many other such things) when talking to someone as its considered rude... however the very same people dont even bat an eyelid while giving unsolicited opinions on the other person's faith / religion.

What is so difficult to understand in the fact that "my faith" can be "what I want it to be", without having an iota of impact on "your faith" on "what you want it to be" - That, existence of differences is not always bad (Had that been the case, variety wouldnt have any positive connotation, now would it?)

In my opinion, GOD was created because the concept of goodness needed a form, a personification for people to easily relate to.So how does it matter if different people choose to manifest this personification in different ways... as long as it enables you to stick to the path of goodness (You could argue that goodness can be a relative term, but if you think about it, is it, is it really?)

All faiths ultimately boil down to having one guiding principle - some call it love, some call it sacrifice, some justice, some truth / knowledge, some tolerance ... and some call it something else. They are all meant to ultimately do the same thing , deliver the same message - guide you to a better living and to teach you to love yourself and everybody around you.

I guess we should just remind ourselves (whenever we tend to get carried away) that all faiths in some way or the other were created/ to cater to the following human needs
1.Create Hope for the good for people to go on in their weakest moments
2.Create Fear of the bad to ensure a harmonious co-existence between billions of people on this earth.

If you really look closely, the above mentioned (Optimism & Compassion) are the 2 fundamental principles of "Humanity" required fior a peaceful , chaos-less living. So does it really matter who you are - a Muslim, Christian , Hindu , Jew etc .. if you are following the principles of "Humanity" in the end , but just with a fancier / different name?

Sometimes i think that we people have just way too much free time on our hands to indulge in the childish "my-religion/faith- shinier- than-yours" debates.

P.S. - Since the last 3 years (since I moved to Egypt) , the number of times I have been asked this question about which religion i belong to.. is not funny! The funny part is that despite the fact that i am from a country which hosts almost all religions present in the world, this question is still new to me... or maybe its just the frequency of the question.
Not that we dont have religious differences/ propagandas in my country , still somehow i dont remember people asking me about my religion. Then again, maybe our names are perfect give aways of our religions... Any which way, I just wish people would stop asking me / anyone this question!!