With the recent deaths that plague our society, sudden shocks of mass terror and fear that grips the hearts of anyone in any city, of any age, race and religion, it is unsurprising that most of us are filled with hatred. Glancing through social media in the past few days, have been emotionally draining, depressing and at times, frustrating. Where the usual concerned voices console those who have been affected, and those traumatized express how they feel, the mighty voices of strong opinions and “powerful” speakers with keyboards have been ultimately prevalent. These people talk in as much extremes as the terrorists have gone to, and proclaim hatred to all devotees of religion, or certain races. The ultimate argument I’ve read went along the lines of “but bombings and such happening under western education today has probability zero.” Then explain to me the shootings of innocent children, the bombing of foreign countries over “allegations”, the oppression of many for the sake of one, and the anti-religion shootings that have occurred? Probability zero, I think not. But if we argue over who causes more deaths, we’d probably end up killing each other. Here’s what the problem is, people are angry and upset. And when they so readily believe in the voices of terrorists proclaiming themselves as true followers of a religion, we forget the vast majority of those who believe in the same religion that are peaceful, loving and accepting.
It is not wrong, to want to feel angry. We have been hurt, over and over. We’ve lost brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children; but we haven’t lost it all. We forget, that we have each other. We turn a blind eye to everyone we knew and suddenly, everyone is an enemy. Who do we trust, and why do we trust? Why should we? Broken things never really get fixed, and when broken again, who bothers fixing it?
We don’t have to have hatred plague our lives as an immediate reaction to being hurt. It does not come hand in hand to blame innocent people, and put your labels on them. My biggest frustration comes from those who claim to say “religion” caused everything. Yes. It was a tool, and still is. But it is not a cause that has claimed to only evil. With the vast majority of the world believing in one form of religion or another, we cannot simply say that the small percentage of terror reflects the actions of all those who believe in God(s and Goddesses).
I don’t think its right to insult others, and what they believe in regardless of what you believe in.
For many of these believers, faith offers hope. Without it, despair and pain would be unbearable. And these would turn them into hard, fearless creatures. Ones who are far more dangerous than god-fearing extremists. Of course this doesn’t apply to every single person, but it does apply to a majority. I just don’t think religion is evil. That is what I’m trying to say. I don’t think it causes only pain, but mostly it offers shelter, solitude and strength. When something that is so beautiful and old, and carries so much history and faith, it is truly magnificent. And is that not enough to be respected and admired for what it is, regardless of its validity? I have seen so much good come out of faith, so much strength. Single mothers that I personally know could have lost hope, and children would have gone to foster care if not for the strength they found in meditating themselves through prayer to their God(s). So many other examples come to mind and I’m sure you can recall a few peope in your lives who have gotten by, mentally, through their beliefs. It is strength from within. It is in being completely comfortable with the fact that there is something greater that affects how we live, and therefore, responsibility isn’t such a heavy burden. It just makes life easier to live.
Look at the concept behind the “geniuses” of Greek artists. They would say their work of art was not theirs but that of their Genius, who worked through them. And hence, anything good or bad was not theirs but that of their Genius, and the blame wouldn’t be so great. Neither would the praise, and isn’t humility something we all need in order to live with each other peacefully?
I’ve grown up in a Muslim majority country, and I’ve seen religion being used as a political card, to keep the majority happy and maintain power. But I have also had friends, best friends, relatives and teachers of the same religion, who have offered love and acceptance, guidance, and true reflections of their beliefs. Their religion is not one of hatred and terror, or exclusion, and when ignorant “free thinking educated” people bring up quotes out of a book and point in their faces calling them murderers, I’m sure you can understand why I disagree. I’m sure you can see why I don’t think my teachers and friends wanted me dead, or that they said I’m damned to hell. Its because we have mutual respect. We have an understanding, a form of admiration for each other that I’ve noticed, has become less and less prominent in any society. Growing up learning about everyone’s culture like that, granted it being biased to the majority, helped me realize the importance of integrating societies to better understand each other’s culture and religion. I look at my grandparents’ generation of people, and I see how tight knitted a society they are, and I know for a fact that it can’t be true, it can’t be that religion exists to divide and conquer and kill.
Yet, we cannot forget when we have been hurt. And I know there are some of us who have truly encountered pure evil in the name of religion. But here is what I say to you, that’s not what religion is. At the core of it, every religion promotes love, peace and understanding. Though they may differ in surface value, and I agree that some practices simply are not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean I spite those who believe in it. Regardless of how I feel, I respect those who respect me enough to respect my personal opinions. I agree, I’m not a fan of religious bigots who shove their faith down my throat, without an ounce of true understanding as to their religion itself, but I pity them, let them have their beliefs, and respect that. It is not always that people are perfectly great to everyone else, but if we respond in hatred and spitefulness, it just makes it worse.
Then why do extremists exist? Where do they get the notion that religion is evil? Power hungry people with a great handle on words and conviction, can convince anyone that anything is true. And when these people have intentions of their own, masked by religion and use it to their advantage to convince the masses that wrong is right, it is dangerous. Remember Hitler? So be wary, and understand everything you’re fed with. Understand, and then you’ll love, or decide it is wrong. Understand and you won’t fall victim to such lies, or your own emotions. Ignorance fuels the worst evils. Choose to learn more, choose to be less ignorant and maybe, peace is still not an idealized dream, maybe it can be a reality in the near future.