Monday, September 18, 2006
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.