February 19, 2010

Why Is Inconsistency Consistent With Religion?

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 11:59 am

One thing I’ve never understood is why people enjoy playing along when it comes to stereotypification. Muslims have been stereotyped as dangerous, violent, sexist religious fanatics who are capable of the most outrageous acts of brutality. When Salman Rushdie published “The Satanic Verses” in 1989, he incurred the wrath of the Muslim community, eventually landing a fatwa from Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. While Rushdie himself remains unharmed til this day, the same cannot be said for some of the men who worked with Rushdie on his book. In particular, 37 men were burnt alive to chants of “Death to the infidel”. But they were merely collateral damage as the intended target, Turkish translator Aziz Nesin managed to escape. Not that the Islamists would’ve minded; the 37 killed were Alevi intellectuals.

I cannot then, for the life of me, understand why anyone would subscribe to such a belief system. 3 women were caned in Malaysia yesterday for their part in what was deemed “illicit” sex. Resisting the incredible urge to mock their choice of words, I seriously question the decision. I have discussed this countless times with my Muslim friends who, and i consider myself extremely fortunate for this, are intelligent and civil enough to engage in such discourse without issuing me threats(except for the occasional “you better drink up or else….”).

This is a totalitarian system that relies on fear to keep its people in check. The women commented that while there was barely any physical pain, they had “learnt their lesson”. Strangely enough, in contrast to the last time a caning sentence was issued, this execution was swift and silent, as if to say “We screwed up the last time. This time, it’s happening.” Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced to caning last year for consumption of beer in public. She was supposed to be the first woman to be caned under Sharia law. Unfortunately that honour has been stripped from her.

The Qur’an specifically lists alcoholism as a major sin. In fact, it is said that because alcohol distorts the consumers’ perception of reality, thus enabling them to commit other sins, it should be consider the mother of all sins. I find it interesting then that there supposedly exists rivers of wine in Paradise. Delicious wine too, as quoted from the scriptures(Sura 47:15).

I also find it incredible that Malaysia would use Islamic text and the Sharia law to impose punishment on those three women. While Islam is possibly the world’s most sexually repressive religion, their main man is also possibly one of the most sexually indulgent characters in history. The prophet Muhammad had 13 wives, the youngest of whom was only 6(betrothed at 6, consummated at 9). At one point he was married to 11 women at the same time, including his adopted son’s wife.

I guess the big question is: Why is inconsistency consistent with religion? I would think that if indeed religion was formed as a covenant between an almighty being and his followers, surely he/she would have seen it coming and made efforts to straighten things out. Instead, here we are second guessing ourselves and each other, tripping and stumbling over every clumsy proclamation we come across. So i guess the only two possibilities, working under the assumption that there IS indeed a god, are that either he/she just doesnt’ care, or he/she can’t do anything about it. Either way, both possibilities are considered blasphemous.

If I had to pick one, I’d say he/she simply doesn’t care. And by doing so, I’m giving your dictator more credit than you do.


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