Sunday, July 11, 2010

With God On Our Side

Recently I took a trip with my friend Tony. It wasn’t just the two of us but I didn’t care for the crowd I was travelling with. Now somewhere during the trip Tony went from Agnostic Libertine to Religious Fanatic and has been the same ever since. Now first thing first, Tony is a Muslim albeit not a very serious one. A lot of people who know him find this fairly hard to believe because he is a serial flirt and notorious womaniser and he drinks like an Irishman.

Of course all this changed during the trip, the town we visited was awash with Pretty Young Things and endless distractions so somewhere among all this sin and debauchery he suddenly had an epiphany, realised the error of his ways and decide to become good as the Quran clearly states. For some reason I felt uneasy with this sudden change of heart (and the fact that he was close to flogging himself in penance) so I decided to pick a fight with him.

For one thing Tony can be a cocky, sanctimonious ass – like most religious fanatics and worst of all a hypocrite (all Muslims are like this according to him). Here is a boy who really doesn’t mind getting head from a willing female but would never return the favour because of his machismo (if I was a girl I’d be pissed!) he clearly partakes of other ‘vices’ but sees nothing wrong with judging and condemning others. I was brought up in a faintly Christian background and I have a superficial understanding of the bible but I know one of the most important teachings is to love others – unconditionally. Another is to never ever judge another human being. Jesus was a genius and he’s teachings are profoundly simple. Tony obviously disagreed with me. He told me my worldview like Jesus’ was simplistic, unrealistic and narrow (I’m a humanist you see). Islam unlike Christianity is not a religion but rather a way of life. It is therefore full of complex rules governing the most mundane aspects of human life. I said God has bigger things to think about than minute, insignificant details like whether a woman’s hair is covered. He said the converse is true.

This went on and on for a long time. Each of us getting more and more agitated by the minute. His problem appears to stem from the felling that he is disrespecting his parents by being who he is. “Muslims” He said “are supposed to be better than everyone else”. I told but your human and you make mistakes. According to him that was another one of my simplistic arguments. He said that Muslim parents often don’t want to know what their kids are up to because they are supposed to be perfect. A good Muslim child obeys their parents and questions nothing. He obviously had failed at this and he was trying to redeem himself. “Even if it means lying to your parents about who you were.” He said yes. Apparently God could forgive his lies because he did it in the interest of his parent’s wellbeing.

Islam it seems is a religion of keeping up appearances rather than seeking truth. According to Tony that is. I told he should be a Christian since he wasn’t making a good case for himself or his religion. Since it was late I had to leave but I was unsatisfied with the outcome of the debate because it seems that Tony was debasing himself or his character in favour of an idealised persona and ideology. At some point I told him that he would be the kind of person who would throw out his own daughter if she fell pregnant. He didn’t deny it because in God’s eyes that’s the right thing to do. I guess that’s where our two religions diverge. Christina’s are obligated to forgive and love unconditionally. Muslims I seems condemn and enact punishment on any transgressors. I asked him if he thought this was right. He told me it didn’t matter as long as he had God on his side.

Obviously the both of us have made gross omissions in our pseudo-theocratic debates and that readers should forgive this especially since the both of us are not theologians of any description but rather disillusioned youths.


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