Monday, September 18, 2006

Pope trouble

Why are religious sensibilities so easily hurt, and the hurt rarely forgotten? Many Muslims still seem to be angry and dissatisfied with the Pope's apology.

Could it be religious dogma? Religious dogma is just that; dogma, plain and simple.

One cannot really reason with people who are more ritual than spiritual. Rituality is the uncompromising, coersive and organising part of any philosphy, be it religious or political. Its purposes are to discipline the masses, protect their ideology and control them. Spirituality is pious, personal and open to dialogue. It transcends different faiths and builds bridges between them. Pious People do not attack each other or become easily offended by other peoples' comments and interpretations. Their relationship with their God is strong and intimate. Most spiritual people prefer to be teachers rather than community leaders. By contrast, religious leaders are generally in the business of reinforcing rituals, defending the faith and sanitising history to cover up their predecessors' misdeeds and fallability.

Today's Islam, as taught to the masses in the Middle East, is a triumph of form over substance. Threats, violence and street protests have less to do with the spirit of Islam and more with tribalism. Still, it would have been better if the Pope had not singled out Islam in his discussion of religious violence.

See also this excellent post by fellow blogger Ammar.


Fares said...

Excellent post Philip, you have a great mind indeed

عشتار said...

Am not sure that the pope shouldnt have mentioned Islam , he's raising a very interesting debate about faith and rationality , it could be that he should have made some balance in his speach , like mentioning the crusaders at the same time he mentioned the emperor who was under islamic othman seige
and maybe he was bit "clumsy" in the way he brought up that qoute , but i beleive that he was assertive bold and brave in codemning the way violence is used to impose faith and this message could have gone to all those who are using violence including the USA which is trying to impose its own policies , but in my openion the main problem was with the media who ignored the whole speach of the pope and concentrated on that qoute of the emperor , if you read the most popular arab news websites like aljazeera , they didnt even puplish the whole speach of the pope rather they rushed to bring analysis about holy war
As for the reactions in the streets its excatly the point that moslems should now adress among themselves , their relation with god , their relation with their religion and their dogma , should the dogma serve people as a spiritual feeder or are we becoming slaves of our own dogma , actualy thats whats happening here , many moslem youth are being brainwashed to slave their souls for their dogma

Philip I said...

Fares, thank you very much. I most certainly do NOT have a great mind.
As you have probably guessed, I am not a religious person and perhaps that allows for some indulgent thinking out of the box. This, though, does necessarily lead to valid conclusions!

Ashtar, I totally agree with you. I should have elaborated a little more on the last sentence: "Still, it would have been better if the Pope had not singled out Islam in his discussion of religious violence." but, thank you, you have done that nicely, with examples.

Ammar said...

"One cannot really reason with people who are more ritual than spiritual."

This is very true Philip.