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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Loud and Clear?

Tom Lehrer, in one of his usual brilliant performances (Kazaa or Limewire him; Reading the lyrics is great, but listening to him is a lot more fun!), highlighted the dilemma well when he said, "Everyone ought to love one another. And I know there are people who do not love one another ... and I hate such people!" Controversial author Sam Harris, on a more serious note, says

"... most sensible people advocate something called "religious tolerance." While religious tolerance is surely better than religious war, tolerance is not without its liabilities. Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us incapable of criticizing ideas that are now patently absurd and increasingly maladaptive. It has also obliged us to lie to ourselves — repeatedly and at the highest levels — about the compatibility between religious faith and scientific rationality."
But a really 'thought-provoking' statement that caught my eye comes from a major religious figure.

I wonder what Bushama will make of this!!!

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20 Comments:

Blogger vintage said...

how about live and let live? you dont hurt me and i dont hurt you back.

but this caught my attention, and i agree:

tolerance is not without its liabilities. Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us incapable of criticizing ideas that are now patently absurd and increasingly maladaptive.

this however, sounds ridiculous to me: the equal tolerence of all religions is the same as atheism.

i think it's quite the opposite. those with little tolerence for other religions display a need to justify their beliefs to themselves.

shall think of a better way to explain it and will be back.

05 July, 2006 12:10

 
Blogger the olive ream said...

The degree of one's personal belief, and the interpretation of one's faith is the key to how we react to our environment. The problem arises when people either exploit their religion to feel superior to others OR people who are completely indifferent to matters of faith, assume that the majority who happen to be religious are suffering from some mass delusion and thus need to be looked down upon.

After much introspection, I have come to realize that when it comes to matters of faith it is best to follow the creed "mind your own goddamn business, thank you!"

Religion/personal belief system should not be exploited for one-up-manship. If one is willing to criticize a religion than we must have the courage to take criticism for our beliefs or non-beliefs.

Here ends my sermon.

05 July, 2006 12:35

 
Anonymous BeanZ said...

Sam Harris is a must-read - there's lots of content on truthdig.com. While I may not agree with every word he utters, he has been a catalyst that has forced me off the fence.

Before Zak grilled me and before reading Sam Harris, I never considered that there was anything political or untoward about "tolerance". While I still need to get my head around this fully, I think I believe that the notion of tolerance is a crock of shit - invented for furthering agendas and as a convenient escape from confronting the "truth". Tolerance is the antithesis of religion. You can't subscribe fully to one whilst simultaneously tolerating another.

"Live and let live" is a utopian fantasy; we don't live in that kind of world anymore. Actually, it never was that kind of world. Men have been killing each other in the name of religion and for God's favour since Cain and Abel. Aaah - the competitive spirit - nurtured by the "benevolent" creator. The worrying thing is that irrationality is becoming prevalent and is the greatest threat to civilization. This is something we need to be very intolerant of.

05 July, 2006 17:21

 
Blogger Checkmate said...

Religion, I believe has to be practised individually and as a society. Tolerance for all religions is a myth. Anyone who says that he has tolerance for all religions is in denial. It is just not human. We are an animal who has the need to feel superior. We sometimes fulfil this need by being rigid in our religious beliefs and sometimes by denying God altogether. An atheist has no sympathy for the believer and the believer always wants to save the soul of the one without faith.

Religion is what I understand it to be. Because I cannot have faith on someone elses terms. "Fatwa sirf dil say"

05 July, 2006 17:36

 
Anonymous rayhan said...

the olive ream says:
when it comes to matters of faith it is best to follow the creed "mind your own goddamn business, thank you!"

but, as beanz points out rightly:
"Live and let live" is a utopian fantasy; we don't live in that kind of world anymore.

i would mind my own '?damn' business if the religious people did not act as if i had given them the contract to do so.

06 July, 2006 07:12

 
Blogger the olive ream said...

rayhan,

Firstly, I was speaking for myself and secondly, I still promote the creed especially because the self-righteous 'religious' crowd apparently mind everyone else's business but their own.

Live and let live maybe 'a utopian fantasy' as you rightly claim but I would rather adhere to this fantasy (or personal rule) than be aligned with the extremists (religious or non-religious) who practice little or no tolerence.

I don't believe that tolerating other beliefs is a sign that one is weak in adherence of one's faith. There's enough there in the world to consistently piss me off but I prefer being tolerant rather than the extremist bastards who are always in your face because they believe they are always right.

My tolerance is sourced from the strength of my own faith (whatever amount of faith I have) and I don't want to give up my preference of 'live and let live' just because the majority of the world doesnot conform to that mindset. Just because others are self-righteous gits does not mean I have to be one in order to survive among them.

06 July, 2006 16:29

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

olive ream: You mean one should tolerate bad thing?. But Quran says you have to do good and STOP bad.

06 July, 2006 19:44

 
Anonymous rayhan said...

i am really interested in finding out where tolerance is recommended in any faith which has a god? budhism is the most tolerant {but not fully}. but it has no god. sufism is tolerant. but according to wahabees it is not islam but kufr. my family is muslim but most muslims dont want to accept them as such in indo-pakistan and arabia. why? where is the tolerance?

06 July, 2006 20:21

 
Anonymous arvind_mahalingam said...

beanz, is the entire notion of tolerance bad? should we be tolerant of nothing? i think that would lead to misery and more wars. is pacifism not a form of tolerance? i have visited your blog and read your articles many times. you are erudite. so i think you have not reached this conclusion as a crazy idae. i would like you to respond here or write on your blog about it. this is serious stuff.

07 July, 2006 07:01

 
Blogger Aila said...

BeanZ said... Tolerance is the antithesis of religion.

Intolerance is the closest thing TO religion. True religious belief, in your choice of religion, implies you believe in a god, and you truly believe you are right in believing this. Therefore, all other beliefs that fall short of your particular religion must be wrong.

Tolerance is the only thing that allows you to take a step
back from all this 'I'm right" "No your not, I"M RIGHT"
...bickering.

But if you really want to piss of all the religions in one go, pick and chose your beliefs. Treat each holy book/religion as a buffet of values and morals, and take
whatever suits your fancy, and tell them 'I'm believe all
religions! ' hehe
Not only does this piss off the believers, it pisses off the
hard core atheists as well. The agnostics couldn't care
less, those are the tolerant ones.

07 July, 2006 18:15

 
Blogger Aila said...

just want to make an ammendment to my previous comment. There do exist religious people who are tolerant of other views. Suppose those would be the religious/agnostic, since they would have to believe they do not "KNOW, WITHOUT A DOUT' their belifes are accurate.

07 July, 2006 19:25

 
Blogger the olive ream said...

anonymous, you obviously did not understand my point. Unless you believe that tolerance is a 'bad thing', in which case I disagree with you and shall leave it at that.

I reiterate I was speaking for myself and these are my views. I don't expect anyone to conform to them. I don't subsrcribe to the point of view that in order for one to truely believe in one's 'own' faith, one must be intolerant of other faiths. My belief system is my own, and it is my preference and my choice which I believe to be right BUT it does not mean that I am 'intolerant' of other people's belief, I maybe indifferent, I may even disagree but that does not qualify the classification of "intolerance", that is the wrong word for it completely.

07 July, 2006 20:11

 
Anonymous BeanZ said...

Arvind: Challenging the notion of tolerance is proving to be intellectually dangerous and exciting. As mentioned in my earlier comment, I am still struggling with suddenly having to rethink something I have always taken for granted. During this period of intellectual inquiry and discussion, my opinions may change. There, that's the disclaimer out of the way ;-)

Semantics first. "Tolerance" is the ability and willingness to allow the existence of opinions and behaviour that one does not necessarily like or agree with, without interference. So, when someone tells me that morality cannot exist outside the framework of religion, I can have a range of reactions. If the person is a contemporary, I'd argue vehemently, to the contrary. If the person is my grandmother, I'd let it go out of respect for her age, sensibilities, and our culture. I certainly would not beat the crap out of that person. Does that mean I am tolerant? I don't think so. I am unequivocally intolerant of this viewpoint - but I am civilized. I think my problem is with cognitive semantics and usage, more than anything else.

Pacifism is not about tolerance or intolerance. It is the belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means. Religious tolerance is an oxymoron - and this is apparent in the violence, conflict, and misery prevalent in our world. I have had enough of tip-toeing around people because of their religious sensitivities. Why should I have to "tolerate" the views of a person who insists that the sole purpose of our existence is to worship the Creator? I should be able to disagree (through debate, not through violence) and not be judged as immoral. But it is unsafe to express an a-religious viewpoint today. This is because there is no allowance for tolerance in religion. The belief that morality is tied up to religion, in addition to several other ridiculous ideas, need to be strongly and vocally challenged. I am not saying that the "entire notion of tolerance is bad". I think its usage in communication is flawed. Gandhi Jee was not "tolerant" of the British occupation of India, he was "intolerant" of it! The methodology he chose to oppose it was non-violent pacifism.

08 July, 2006 10:26

 
Anonymous stranger_in_paradise said...

Olive Ream, you say My belief system is my own, and it is my preference and my choice which I believe to be right ...
So, doesn't your belief teach you compassion for other humans? If it does, the logical next step would be to save them from hellfire, no? Even if you have to force it upon them. Like we do to our children. Infact, I was told the correct thing to do in Islam is to disown the children if they follow another faith. An Islamic society will kill them, later. ofcourse. But that's not your problem, since they are not your children any more. (Love is supposed to last only until legal arrangement?) To be fair, the Islamic way is better than the Biblical order to smash their heads with stones yourself.

08 July, 2006 10:47

 
Blogger Zakintosh said...

What a bundle of contradictions:
Alia: True religious belief, in your choice of religion, implies you believe in a god ...
Rayhan: Budhism ... has no god.

Actually, a great deal of the confusion seems to be the result of interchangeably using words that, in essence, have differences: Belief, Religion, Faith, Conviction, Deen, Mazhab, & more ...

Olive Ream, for example, firmly believes in belief (defined in one dictionary as 'any cognitive content held as true') being a 'personal' matter. Perhaps. But Religion, the form Belief takes once it becomes organized, ceases to be personal. Therein lie the roots of violent expressions of intolerance. Even social philosophies, that do not claim supernatural or divine sources - or vociferously oppose them, such as Communism - take on a 'religious fervour' and become dangerously intolerant of the slightest deviation from then on.

More to the point, the Pope's statement IMNSHO is merely stupid! No self-respecting Atheist would like to be bracked with 'the others' :-) ... and vice-versa, of course.

Actually, the Pope's statement is just another show of the Bushlical idea: You are either with us or against us! (Luke xi. 23)

I believe I'd like another shot of Tequila.

08 July, 2006 11:36

 
Anonymous Ghazala said...

ZAkintosh as usual your brilliantly provocative, proactive blog that's stirred up such a wonderful dialogue -
but makes my belief in Bertrand Russell's statement
" there is no such thing as tolerence, the more you believe in tolerence the less you can tolerate the intolerant".

08 July, 2006 11:47

 
Anonymous naeem sadiq said...

" Oh, there was a time in human history, when for many thousand years people believed in religions". I hope this comment is made by some in say another 200 years from now. Cheers. naeem

08 July, 2006 12:28

 
Blogger the olive ream said...

Stranger_in_paradise,
I say again my belief system is PERSONAL. I also believe in my personal creed of "mind your own goddamn business" because it applies to me primarily. I am not here to save anybody from hell fire. I interpret my faith as I comprehend it and I don't want to spend my time explaining it to others. My belief is that as faith is personal it is the responsibility of each individual to contemplate and interpret the facets of its teachings.

You seem to be aligning other peoples' interpretation of religion on to me. You are working with the assumption that I believe in teaching others the right path and saving their souls. I do NOT abide by that as I've already explained that it is a 'PERSONAL' thing.

ZAK is very right when he says "But Religion, the form Belief takes once it becomes organized, ceases to be personal". And that is exactly my point. I believe (any) organized religion becomes open to flaws, contradictions, multiple interpretations and politics when it is forced into becoming cohesive entity to unite and lead a group of people. I also disagree with the idea of priests, rabbis, imams, pundits, etc. I believe there should not be a MIDDLEMAN between you and which ever god you chose to follow.

08 July, 2006 13:09

 
Blogger bluecheese said...

We may never know what the truth is. I believe that faith is important, as a purely psychological requirement of what the human race has evolved into. Also, as each person is different, we should understand that the requirement of faith may be different for each of us. Not all of us can be muslims, atheists, buddhists, or agnostics. Different beliefs work for different people. What we should be intolerant of is any one group of believers trying to impose their way as the only way.

08 July, 2006 14:16

 
Blogger Faisal Khan said...

...and I quote....

"the olive ream said...

Stranger_in_paradise,
I say again my belief system is PERSONAL. I also believe in my personal creed of "mind your own goddamn business" because it applies to me primarily."

AMEN!

09 July, 2006 13:10

 

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