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Religious intolerance

By Saad Hafiz:

Religion should provide
social control, cohesion, and purpose for people, as well as another means of communication and gathering for individuals to interact and reaffirm social norms. Historically, a turn to a religion based upon love was a great moral revolution and made possible a genuine humanisation of human life. The premise is that all humans are equally creations of God; all fall equally within His providential reach; all have an intrinsic importance and value; and all will be judged by God alone. Yet events themselves show that religion can play a highly negative role, aggravating schism, justifying hate, even fostering deadly intolerance. In many regions, adherents of all the world’s major faiths commit indiscriminate acts of violence on the grounds of protecting their religious identity and serving the cause of God. “Violence does not build up the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity. On the contrary, it is a favourite instrument of the Antichrist, however idealistic its religious motivation may be. It serves, not humanity, but inhumanity. The cruel consequences of religiously motivated violence are only too evident to us all,” wrote Pope Benedict.

Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka sees intolerance as at the root of the dissension in the world. On one level, he says, spiritual practices can enrich humankind. But religious fundamentalism is the greatest threat to peace and democracy in the world today. And all the major religions are guilty of contributing to the problem. “Judaism, Christianity and Islam are completely soaked in intolerance. There is no reason at all why a religion cannot just expose and disseminate its own believed virtues, and not at the expense of denigrating the belief systems of others. Conversion “by example is absolutely legitimate; it’s a mark of culture and civilisation”, Soyinka said. “But there isn’t much of that.”

In the wake of the latest escalation in religious violence, politicians, media, and religious leaders try to assure us that religion is not to blame for extremist terror campaigns and the ethnic and communal conflicts that increasingly threaten world peace. However, to this day, nearly all religions supply the kindling that fuels wars and acts of persecution, sparks torture and murder, and inflames ethnic hatred. Murder and terror do not figure in the teachings of the monotheist world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet time and again, their fanatical followers embark on bloody rampages, their rage fired up by zealous priests and religious scholars. Religious fanaticism has existed in all ages and all religions. It is the sinister side of faith, and its explanation remains elusive. Such extremism — which is usually unleashed in spasms of violence against dissenters — can even be found in the so-called ‘gentle’ faiths like Hinduism and Buddhism. In some countries, legal discrimination against religious minorities and the failure of government to address religious persecution effectively enables atrocities against those who are vulnerable. Governments seldom bring charges against those responsible for such violence and discrimination.

It is clear that unless the extremist mindset changes the world will never eliminate the threat of faith-inspired terror. Societies have to resist violent uprisings carried out in God’s name. At stake is not simply the credibility of religion but the welfare of humanity. Government and societies must explore the complex roots of religious-inspired violence, the historic ambivalence of religious traditions toward violence, and the urgent steps that must be taken next. Religious leaders of all faiths must begin to defend proactively and vigorously the rights of others to believe and to act differently. The world needs to reject both sectarian conflict and commit itself instead to an authentic pluralism. Genuine pluralism fosters a culture that honours rather than isolates and disparages religious difference. It affirms the right of others to believe and practise their faith, not only in their private lives but also in the public square, while expecting them to allow still others to do the same.

In reality, a separation of religion and state is essential for religious diversity and peaceful coexistence to prosper. Most importantly, granting of equal rights and justice for all citizens regardless of gender, race, religion, and affiliations will ensure pluralism in predominantly faith-based societies. It has to be understood that no ideology can please the majority of people, and under democracy, political movements with common interests are forced to compromise with each other in order to gain a share of political power. The laws they pass may not please everyone, but they usually keep enough people happy to keep the majority coalition in power. A way forward is to emulate the success of the western world in developing and perfecting social structures. In a number of western countries social relations are sufficiently humanised to ensure a high standard of life as well as social justice, and a genuine humanisation of life seems quite possible there. The secular programmes of emancipation such as democracy and liberalism have played a positive role.  The process of secularisation of cultural life does not mean that humanity is going to turn away from God, but that faith becomes a private affair.

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23 Responses to "Religious intolerance"

  1. Mohan United Arab Emirates Google Chrome Windows says:

    Very good article. I specially liked these lines in the article.
    -
    There is no reason at all why a religion cannot just expose and disseminate its own believed virtues, and not at the expense of denigrating the belief systems of others.
    -
    Societies have to resist violent uprisings carried out in God’s name. At stake is not simply the credibility of religion but the welfare of humanity.
    -
    The process of secularisation of cultural life does not mean that humanity is going to turn away from God, but that faith becomes a private affair.

  2. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Religion, besides being other things, is a tool. More intelligent humans have always used it once they saw the rest around them gawking at the crescent moon in open-mouthed wonderment.

    Islam, by its very design and intention, is a more powerful tool than most other religions. To say that Muslims should accept it as a private affair is to say that all Muslims should stop using this very powerful tool for advancing their personal and their social interests.

    As rational human beings, why should they do that?

    Other religions too are used as tools. But they began to lose their power once their inherent flaws were discovered and widely appreciated by their adherents. Islam has absolutely no inherent flaws. And the number of its inherent flaws that are widely appreciated among Muslims – believing and non-believing – is even smaller.

  3. Madhav Singh India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Kaal,

    Who are those more intelligent Human beings on this wretched earth and what exactly intelligent they have done to better their own lives, and that of others in specific ways?

    Your lofty metaphor of Tool for religion, in fact signifies totally opposite, but right narrative. The illiterate, confused and highly radicalized bunch of zombies, who have no idea that they are only tools and more often mere stacks of dry cannon fodder for creating conflicts, mayhem, violence and terrorism. Individually, only specify and defines, One who lacks the mental capacity to know he is being used as a fool, a cretin; characterized by low intelligence and/or self-esteem.

  4. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Madhav

    Men and women use other men and women for their purposes. They use religion for their purposes. And they use religion to use other men and women for their purposes.

    I prefer not to see evil or good in all this. Most of these people actually believe in what they do, and they believe it is all a a good thing.

  5. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    And although my friend Saad Hafiz will hate me for saying this, if you really wish to see a man deliberately, ‘intelligently’ putting together, piece by piece, over time, a religion for his own purposes, with ‘strategy and vision’, you should study Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. :)

    Again, my purpose is not to label anything or anyone evil or good, merely to point out that religion is a deliberately constructed/God-gifted tool. If you have a powerful tool, you would be rather strange not to use it according to its characteristics.

  6. Madhav Singh India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Kaal,

    God-gifted tool???

    For God’s sake, please give us a break!!!

    All Gods and related Religious Fairy Tales are mere Man Made Constructs and nothing more.

    Thanks, for the suggestions, as reading worst of religious craps can be illuminating and educative as well to know, how easily, human beings can fooled and overnight turned in to bunch of screaming or silent zombies.

  7. yazid United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I am eager to learn more about crusades, jihad( killings), Talibani illiterates, which never came out of the inherent flaws….

  8. hari India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    kaalchakra says:
    “Islam has absolutely no inherent flaws.”

    And thus kaal exposes himself as an agent of islamic fascism, as one who is encouraging an strengthening islamic fascism.

    -
    A part of the strategy of all fascists is to make such arrogant claims which human beings of lower intelligence and greater mental tendency to violence and fascism find as very inviting and confirming their meanest instincts and desires.

    Anyone who praises islam strengthens its fascism and thus is an enemy of the human beings (muslim and non-muslim) caught under islamic imperialism and fascism.

  9. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kaal,
    You are the most enlightened one on PTH and said some very deep phlosophical interpretations of the religion specially Islam which even the committed muslims would have difficulty to articulate. However, Saad Hafiz has written an excellent article giving a lead status to God but separating the religion from God and making it the business of individuals and not the State. This is a good start.

    I am going to ignore the dead worms in the aricle and shall try to read it once I have a break. His quotes from Soyinka and Benedict are unfortunate.

    Rex Minor

  10. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Anyone who praises islam strengthens its fascism and thus is an enemy of the human beings (muslim and non-muslim) caught under islamic imperialism and fascism

    hari i asked u the proof of your claim that islam is fascist.why u are silent on this question.

  11. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kaal

    lF you remove God almighty from the middle of the society, the world order that we know will break apart and civilisation that we know today will revert to Barbarism of the ancient times before the arrivals of the Prophts of God.I like what Saad Hafiz wrote for the way forward to emulate the success of the western world……. Make it more transparent and follow the German so called secular Constitution, with the preamble about God, religion freedom and placing the administration of the catholic religion under the authority and the administration of the Vatican(Papa), who receives a 10% Jazya from the incomes of the fathfuls, and administers the Madrassas and hospitals in the country independent of the German Govt. or follow the Brirs, who do not have a written constitution, the justice system based on precedents while the head of the Anglican church and the elected Govt. is the Queen.

    Will any of the above work for Pakistan?

    Rex Mnor

  12. saad Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    My friend Kaal:

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. Seneca The Younger

    Your large fan club (myself included) know you are wise.

  13. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Kaal,
    Voltair once said hat the muslims are very honest and sincere; they converted to christian by the spanish inquisiion and were good christians, the jews who converted to christanity with them were insincere sice they continued to practice judaism in secret during the night.

    Rex Minor

  14. Maggu India Google Chrome  GT-N7100 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/535.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/18.0.1025.166 Mobile Safari/535.19 says:

    when people demonize muslims in general its unfair. when its done to jews its legit. i have yet to see a demonic looking child. whether jewish or Muslim. oh before i forget the favorite demons at pth, even brahmin kids dont look demonic.

  15. Ahsan Raza Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Afghan war has to do a lot with this present situation.

  16. Dr A Mishra, Harrowgate United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    kaalchakra says- “Islam has absolutely no inherent flaws.”

    The agnostic in me says- “pl pass the vomit bowl”

  17. Maggu India Google Chrome  GT-N7100 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/535.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/18.0.1025.166 Mobile Safari/535.19 says:

    and then he says “And the number of its inherent flaws that are widely appreciated among Muslims – believing and non-believing – is even smaller.’
    .
    pass the bowl back please

  18. romain United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Me thinks all religion is used to justify that some are more equal than others. And this has been used to control the economy and politics very effectively. Every prayer, every ritual is a tool to get an unfair advantage. It doesn’t matter if you bang your head once a day or 5 times a day.

    The catholic history by being better documented than other religious histories, provide ample proof to justify what I have said.

    Perhaps Kaal is basing his opinion on the fact the fact that since there wasnt a significant reform or contra movement in Islam, it is one of the more perfect religions.

    I dont think so. The reason being that while other religions provided a path to the netherworld in the afterlife for contra views unless there was time based repentance, Islam proceeded to dispatch the guilty without time for repentance. This proved a significant deterrent to any contra thinking.

    Yes, the peeps in history loved life as much as we doand learned quickly to manipulate islam for becoming more equal than the other ones. It was/is no different than any other religion inspite of claims to the contrary.

    Take china. It does not officially sanction a religion. In fact, Mao said all religion was bad. Have said that he invented his own and called it chinese communism. How else could he manipulate the masses for so long. Suggest you read the book by Mao’s physician.

    Saad Sb’s assertions about political islam and its evils or tolerance for other religions is in very humble opinion and with deepest respect to Saad sb, complete bullshit – A desire for utopia mingled with sadness and sheer helplessness over the state of affairs in his beloved Pakiland.

    Pakiland is today what its founding fathers wanted or were too short-sighted to see the consequences of their actions. And I dont care which.

    Pakis are where they are and want to be.

  19. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    No PUNGA with Muslims, samjhay!!
    .
    ‘On April 4, 2004, Young was crammed into the back of a two-and-a-half-ton Army truck with 20 other soldiers in Sadr City, Iraq. Insurgents opened fire on the truck from above. “It was like shooting ducks in a barrel,” he said. A bullet from an AK-47 severed his spinal column. A second bullet shattered his knee. At first he did not know he had been shot. He felt woozy. He tried to pick up his M16. He couldn’t lift his rifle from the truck bed. That was when he knew something was terribly wrong.’
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_crucifixion_of_tomas_young_20130310/

  20. frank India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to the PTH…

    AKB shows how islamic fascistic indoctrination works out, what attitude it creates in muslims.

  21. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ frank

    Now atop trying to malign Mirjai’s—they call themselves Moslems!!

  22. I doo accept as true with all of the concepts you’ve presentted to your post.
    They are really convincing and will definitely work.
    Still, the posts are too quick for beginners.
    Could you please extend them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

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