Wednesday, 30 May 2007

On Faith..Again

I've been contemplating the issue of Faith, in its abstract form for a while, I've actually already written a post on it a while back, but I haven't quite made what runs through my mind on that issue quite clear.

This is a time of extreme fragmentation of faith, denominations, sects..sub-sects, branches of sub-sects. and I'm talking across the board here, Sunnis..Shiites, and the sub-divisions among each, Catholic..Orthodox..Protestant..and the rest of denominations in Christianity, Hasidic Orthodox, Haredic Orthodox, Reformist..and the rest of those in Judaism, I'm aware of the existance of more examples, but I'm focusing this brain storm on the three great monotheistic religions, those which I'm affected by and affiliated with, by birth, history, geography and practically all aspects of life, one way or another.

We all share at least one thing in all of the above, the existence of a God, whom we all agree is The Creator of Heaven and Earth, Deliverer of Ultimate Justice, The Bestower of Mercy. Amazingly, His are blessings that are delivered to all humanity, it is us who manipulate and monopolize God's mercy, His blessings, His justice, we claim them to be ours, for us alone, and all those who seek Him in a different way are doomed, God wouldn't listen, He wouldn't answer, He's ours..and for you to be answered, you have to be one of us; by blood, or to a lesser degree of seperation, by choice, force.

This of course is a very simplified version of a very versatile age old philosophical and theological debate, where blood drew more blood, and still does, but when you think of it, it actually goes down to that simplified premise; us being God's people..whether this is by divine decree..or so we think. Humans are selfish by nature, and there is no greater urge for selfishness than the urge of being The Righteous, the one whose side God will eventually defend and deliver to the promised both this and the life hereafter. With this eventuality, we reach the point of a kind of collective selfishness, one that is unparalleled, a kind that reaches the point of chauvinistic predetermination of people's fates, condemnation of their lives, and afterlives.

I've been reading Ibn Khaldun's works on and off, and he argues..notice that I said argues, as arguments are the daughters of minds..and minds never anyway, he argues that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices. Then, eventually, the former barbarians will be conquered by a new set of barbarians, who will repeat the process.

Almost 700 years after this analysis was made, it remains one of the most to the point diagnoses of human nature, the "other" is barbarian, in all aspects of, religious..etc, an alien to civilization, enlightenment and righteousness, or what we perceive them to be.

I'm mixing oranges with apples here as I'm combining the social..non religious conduct of Man with that which is related to Faith. I know that Faith, or more to the point..Religion is a set of teachings which are supposed to result in the betterment of life, and eventually a reward of eternal bliss, this however differs with the difference in the teachings of each faith, but when you think of it in the social, anthropological sense, the thought of being civilized..groomed, as opposed to "barbarian", mirrors, or echoes..depending on your prefered medium of imagination, the idea of us..the righteous..against them; the infidels, the lost..the goyim.

We are selfish, in our manipulation of God, and despite our selfishness..among ourselves, He still saves a man from a Tsunami, a woman from an earthquake, and a child from an airplane crash..for the sole reason of Him being the supreme deliverer of Mercy, the same Mercy he bestows upon a new hatched chick when its mother gently feeds it, the same Mercy He inspires a mother elephant to move slowly so as she wouldn't crush her new born baby, that very same Mercy we are not capable of giving a fraction of to each other.

In these days of pitch black intellectual defiance and denial..among people..and between them, when we retreat to the point of having our backs against the wall..we can only look up, and seek His Infinite Mercy..the same Mercy he bestows upon ants, koala bears and whales.

Have a Good Night.


  1. Ammar

    Well you said it yourself you are mixing applies with oranges, So I will take the faith part of the post in an attempt not to write too much. Our perception of civilization and faith is what drives people to disdain others, our faith as Muslims calls us to be a mercy to others and to treat them well even if they don't see eye to eye with us. I found a long time ago that discussing faith through the behavior of its "followers" is fruitless, since they are not followers in the sense of the word; of the faith they claim they believe in, they follow their own narrow minded understanding of it. So on faith I personally rather discuss "theory" if I may call it so rather than human behavior. Because as there are many people who are completely wrong in their practice of faith, still there are many bright examples even in our days. In that way we examine the issue as its intended, and at the same time it's not a test tube approach to the subject.

  2. Well said Tamara, but as I said, I'm trying to observe and describe the human behaviour when it comes to faith, its an age old argument, it will only end with the end of life, but it's quite intrequing to observe, analyze and learn..about humans..and their perceived relationship with each other..and theirs with God.

  3. I really have nothing left to say, since you guys covered it all!!! :) I am speechless...

  4. fantasia, thanks for the speechlessness I guess! welcome to sharkland!

  5. It is an amazing article to be honest, I love reading such articles, you know? It's so hard to distinguish how people act or behave when it comes to faith, but you really covered it, and I am so glad that you shared what you have read regarding this specific issue :)

  6. It feels like a taboo to discuss religion and faith these days.. The divide within the religion for me, is harder to accept and understand. We have become so selfish we are self destructing..
    Although nothing can shake my faith, for some reason everytime religion is mentioned I feel a knot in my stomach.. I don't know if the meaning of faith have changed because of the recent events, it has become more of a public show rather than a personal, peaceful connection with God.

  7. Amaaaaaaaaar... I have been so busy :( and I just hate not to read you blog... I will read over it today.. :) nice posts as usual..

  8. oooh, I got goosebumps! Especially at the end of your entry, when you say we have our backs to the walls and can only look up towards Him.

    You may be mixing apples and oranges, but fruit salad was never a waste of time nor a pointless mixture. Faith and the social norms (nature of man) are intertwined, and a concurrent study of both will inevitabley be of interest.

    We are manipulating our faith to suit what we want from life... resulting in the 'us' and 'them' syndrome when in fact us=them... in such a climate minor differences in ideology (expression of faith) is resulting in catastrophic clash of desires a.k.a. control.

    v. thought provoking post.

  9. loolt..thank you, that's a very accurate diagnosis!

  10. Well, Ramadan is here! What better than than can one get? :)

    With respect,