Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Rant

OK here we go.

Thats pretty much how I raise me kids. I want them to know the way I do things is my choice and they may not do the same as me as they have free will and freedom to choose. Tis not like that for a lot of kids brought up in religious families though is it?

I'm going to just try and attempt to give my children a kind of education in different religions, so that they can understand how people believe in different things and they all think that what they believe in is right for them. Hopefully, it'll lead them to be tolerant of the multitude of religions we have in the world.
It saddens me how religion has been the cause of so much bloodshed over so many centuries and still is.

Read these comments on another blog and thought I'd share my ideas on this here.

There are myths surrounding religion which all secular people are indoctrinated with at birth. I know this because I imbibed them without even having to chew from when I was knee-high and I took these assumptions as Truth. The biggest lie/assumption there is is that religion has caused ALL the misery on this planet and that without religion we all hold hands and live as one in harmony and blah blah blah

I want to do my bit to halt that bull right now. Religion, like anything, is a tool. In the hands of the spiritually minded and morally inclined it is a tool to purify the self, to cleanse the soul and to attain nearness to their Beloved, Allah/God. This is what the tool of religion came to do. But as with all tools if placed in the hand of a moron it can weild great harm. If placed in the hand of a materialist who seeks only self-glorification, riches, fame and power then religion, like anything, can be used for great harm and manipulation. It isn't the religion that is at fault, it is the misuse of the religion which is the culprit, and this is as much a crime against God as it is against humanity and each and every individual who takes religion as a tool for self-glorification or as a means of oppression and manipulation will find that waiting for him at his grave, will face the Owner of Truth and have to find a sufficient excuse on Judgement Day. There is no excuse and quite rightly these oppressors will see where their scheming gets them.

It isn't the religion that is to blame, it is the lack of belief in it in the first place which causes misery. Allah says do not oppress, engage in acts of aggression, feed the orphan and the poor one lying in the dust and treat all people with absolute justice and equality. If people adhered to religion, believed in and practiced it as it was meant to be practised there would be nothing but peace. Unfortunately it is disbelief in Judgement Day and the fact that every atom of good and every atom of bad is taken into account and seen that leads people to commit great abominations.

Those who seek the "delights" of this world will utilise any tool to get what they want. In the first inception of man's progress this tool of convenience was 'religion', but at today's stage far more violence and materialistic pursuits can be legitimised with politics with little or no reference to religion. And if we think about that assertion a bit further, espcially viz-a-viz the 20th Century and the era of secularism, far more deaths and violence were perpetrated in the name of nationalism, humanism and secularism than EVER have been in the name of religion.
Communism, Nazism, World War I, World War II, Hiroshama, Nagasaki - none of these were religious movements or events yet put together they killed millions upon millions of innocent people - secularists and non-religious people have killed MORE people in one century than so-called "religious" people throughout the eons preceding them combined.

In fact, let's take this further, if we look at the world today with it's uneven distribution of wealth and resources we can make a very confident assertion that more people die as a direct result of third world debt than have ever died because of religion. And was the debt and interest incurred instigated because of religion? No. It was instigated by secularists and greedy governments who care more about making sure that 80% of the world's resources end up in the USA and Europe than they care about human rights and living standards for the vast majority of the world's population. Religion (Islam) actually FORBIDS usury so under a religious world third world debt would simply NOT exist - how many millions of innocent lives would that one religious ruling alone have saved??

Materialism is killing more people than religion ever has, so don't fall for that one-liner - don't throw the baby out with the bath-water. Religion, as far as I see it, is the perfect method of self-improvement. With religion man becomes a true man, living a dignified existence in moral excellence. We were all created for a purpose - this universe was not created by chance, nor was it created for no reason. There is a reason why it is here and why were created that only religion can help us to unfathom.

I never liked religion until I realised that there is a distinction between Institution and dogma, and the real content which it contains. The sufis have a saying "don't mistake the container for the content". What's inside is more important than what holds it.

Dogma exists in ALL spheres of human interaction - including the scientific fields. Does that mean we get rid of science? You have people abusing money - do we get rid of money? You have people abusing children - should we make having children forbidden??!

Tools can be used in a variety of ways. Instead of villifying the tools let us instead try to put the tools to their correct usage - in that way we might get somewhere.

Regarding teaching children ALL religion and letting them choose - poor my children have to have just ONE faith to believe in. This is seen as BAD. Why? Do you let your children choose their meals? Whether or not to clean their teeth? Whether to have vaccinations and medical treatment?? Whether to receive an education at all? In all these spheres I have never heard anyone say "Lets not feed/clothe/innoculate/remedy little Johny - that's oppressive - let's wait til he's old enough to choose these things himself".

From my experience it is the children who are taught that EVERYTHING is valid who are most confused - how can two opposing doctrine both be true? It makes everything meaningless. That's like saying you can have both black and white at the same time. But two entities diametrically opposed cannot both be true. From a purely technical point this means that what one is the other cannot be. For example, “white” is total light, the incorporation of all colours; “black” is absence of light and absence of any colour whatsoever. They cannot possibly be both things at the same time since they include each other’s negation. To be one would cancel the other. You cannot, ergo, have a ‘black-white’ since in essence this is meaningless – you haven’t understood what black or white is if you think you can have both at the same time.

I had no religious teaching at all, and I have never heard of many people who honestly teach their children ALL religions - not in an honest way - and I've only met one woman who intends to teach her children Islam. Something gives at the end of the day.

OK. I'm done.


At 8:09 pm, Blogger Jax said...


No time to reply tonight, but will come back to this over the weekend - extremely thought provoking (in a good way) :)

At 9:09 pm, Blogger 4 girls and 3 boys said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:34 pm, Blogger 4 girls and 3 boys said...

Above removed cos I can't spell for toffee. If a person is ambivalant about religion I suppose it is easy to teach it in an R.E type syllabus way. Like this religion believes this and this one believes that. This changes in the case of a person who truly believes a faith deep down in their own heart and mind and practices it in their lives. It is nigh on impossible to teach other religions then. I have noticed from other H.E blogs it doesn't happen too.In my own family I was brought up in a religious framework. My own children have not been as I rejected the religion of my childhood. So religion was never an issue here til recently. Now it is we only talk about the one I believe. Up til now we just did Chinese New Year e.t.c

At 10:01 pm, Blogger Elder Faery said...

You said.."But as with all tools if placed in the hand of a moron it can weild great harm."

So how do you define 'moron'?

I've only read the first half cos now Meadow has woken and I gotta go and sort her out with lozenges and lemon teas (she has a cold)..but I'll come back and read the rest asap..sounds like a hot one D!;)

At 10:35 pm, Blogger Elder Faery said...

Okay, I'm back. not peeps who teach their kids 'all' religions who have the most confused kids..EVERYONE is confused. And it is not religion versus no religion/another religion. No one follower or non follower ever view the same god or non-god in the same way. Everybody's religion is different even if they are all following the same book word for word. My delight in well as animal-ness and every form that dances with a life in the sun and moonlight is that we are all different. You look into the eyes..they are always different. I love that diversity..but it can be threatening to meet another who looks, smells and talks different and all humans react the self same way that animals do..with suspicion and usually with the hackles up. Now then: no-one said you were indoctrinating your babes....and even if they did..anyone who knows you (or has read you) would say you were doing it in a good way. There's no argument about that. Anyone that doesn't know you and knows you are very devoted to your faith would probably think that your kids have no choice about who they call god...but it really doesn't matter about what people think about that.

I cannot explain why..but I attract a lot of people who are deeply religious and they all try to convert me. In themselves they are great and interesting people and several have been to do with strange and fascinating cults that I marvel to hear about ("Okaaaay, so you are saying that all the animals on the Earth will be destroyed and leave only the birds cos birds are good???!!" (for example)) I think the reason why they try to convert me is because I always listen so raptly. It's beautiful to hear. The ones that weren't in cults (and that isn't as scarey as it sounds..there's just less of em) were really into this or that established religion. I love it's amazing..all these beautiful people..all searching for meaning..all wanting to make the best of it..and generally not hurt anyone (as a rule of thumb). It's a wonderful human thing. All striving for harmony and trying to cope with the fact that for some as yet misunderstood reason..death has to get us all in the end (unless you are immortal..and I've loved, hugged and said goodbye to a few of them as well).

So. What I teach my kids is not these people believe this..or those people believe that...or I believe this and so shalt thou..I teach my kids that this strange trippy planet we are on is full of children (and some call themselves 'adults') with their eyes seeking desperately upwards and their arms imploringly open. We are adrift on this planet and the only universal truth is love. If a religion (or Rosemary Conleys Hip and Thigh Diet) help to find your way then so be it. Each person finds their faith wherever (and look children! Look at how diverse the faiths are!) some of them clump together in big groups..others fight about it..some hide away..some march up and a cute spectacle from a distance I bet.

D - we like your religiousness. To be honest you don't sound like you are doing things that differently to say someone who only believes in wooden toys or no tv...or lots of 'eduational' tv or workbooks or no workbooks..everyone does it the way they want it with schools in Denmark Christianity is an obligatory lesson and the muslim and Jewish kids are not allowed to skip it without a lot of a struggle....makes you think eh? I, for example couldn't take my kids out of the christianity lessons just cos I thought they were a joke (Meadow came home and told me they told her God was a man in a dress with a long white beard). Must fingers are beginning to bleed...;)

At 12:01 am, Blogger d34dpuppy said...

i think its not religion itself just greed that causes all tha problems..kinda liek kids not wanting 2 share there toys but will also want 2 take tha other kids toys too.

At 10:33 am, Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

I'd vote for yer D. Not religion causin' grief it's people claimin' to be practisioners of it n usin' it. Some of me happiest kiddie memories are with a great aunt who invited me to church sometimes n never bothered if I said "no". I usually went n she'd be chuffed. Never went again after she shuffled off.

At 11:09 am, Blogger Qalballah said...

I started this post to counter-act the deep entrenched notions that

1) religion has caused ALL human suffering - I was totally indoctrinated into this belief by religion-hating family. It is a slanted and untrue assertion

2) that you can honestly teach all religions to children in a way that is honest and not confusing - I agree with Ruth - I have never met a religious or non-religious person be able to do it unless they go the RE syllabus way, as from someone who has taught it at state schools I can tell you this is a waste of time

3) that all children who come from religious families are scarred by this and we have to pity them. I get a lot of that, and OK you lot know me so I'm not directing it at you, but really at the people who dont know me who look at my kids and give them a look of pity.

I really don't like the term religion. I don't like dogma. I don't like the cut-out made-to-fit religion because I agree with Elderfairy - everyone, even within a religious framework of a universal Truth, has their own individual path to God within that. In sufi terms Allah has created each and every one of us as an expression of some of His virtue and we are all unique and have a unique relationship with The Divine. There are broad truths and broad rules viz a viz what Allah expects of us and what tools will work to purify the Soul/Self, but within that framework our paths are very different and very beautiful, which is why any attempt to contain and trap this dynamic and vital relationship and path will always lead to atrophy and ugly dogma which can be used by ill-meaning people as an ugly tool.

The container has a name, the Content does not.

At 12:23 pm, Blogger Jax said...

That sounds very tao.


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