I am generally tolerant and liberal. I can accept differences in opinions, I am non-imposing, able to agree to disagree. I believe that for any issue, there are many ways of looking at it and I believe that coexistence is possible.
I can be called a subscriber to the concept of broadband, a highway that can handle finite or possibly infinite frequencies. I believe religion should also be broadband. The ideal objective and destination is common: To be good and to do good.
There is however one category of people I cannot tolerate. These are the Chauvinistic Religionists (CR) particularly those who don the cloth. The worst of the kind are those who put on the secular front by donning designer wears and become leaders of political organizations.
I do not mind architects and engineers and lawyers laying exclusive claims in the practice of their professions but I cannot tolerate religion based politicians or plain religionists who use the same argument and claim exclusive rights to the dispensing of codes, edicts or even law in governing human life.
You can see this kind of people in every religion, none excluded. They can be found in every political landscape. It is
First and foremost, these people believe that moral policing need to be institutionalized, state controlled, and the need to have Big Brother (BB) watching over us as long as they are the BB. They thrive in a society which feels inadequate, submissive, ignorant, and just plain lazy and always hoping for divine interventions for all the woes and problems that beset them.
Presto, here come the saviors !! You get what you ask for!!
They have some common educational backgrounds. They have diplomas and degrees or certificates from the home lands of the religion. For the Hindus, the CR must have the heritage credentials and must have served under any priests in India. For the Muslims, the CR must have studied in the Middle East. For the Sikhs he must have come from any Temples within acceptable radius of Armritsar and the scheme of things are repeated in all other religions.
Often, the subject of study is secondary. It does not matter whether it is comparative law, or Arabic or Hindi, Indian studies or Social science. What matters now is our CR candidate speaks an exclusive language, obtained a degree or some credentials as if credentials are a necessity in being a servant of God. The fact that matters now is the culture and lingo of the scripture. It does not matter that Jordan is not actually the centre of Islamic learning or the Monastery is not recognized by Dalai Lama.
In the land of the ignorant our new graduate will be accorded the respect and be revered as knowledgeable in the religion. He is now accorded the title religious teacher and starts cashing in from the lecture circuits. He starts donning the cloth.
It is from these exposures that the desire and cravings for political relevance starts creeping in. Our religious teacher now is an aspiring politician cashing in on his popularity. Soon he would be accorded the title, the knowledgeable, the alim, the religious scholar, the custodian, the rabbi or whatever name, on the strengths of the various sermons, lectures and forums he has delivered.
A smart career move, I must say. Had he stayed on as the lousy lecturer at the University it would take years for him to even get the title Associate Professor. It would be a mountain of publications and many years of thought articulation before he can dream of being accorded the title Professor,
Now, just after a few years, and without publishing anything and without even putting his brain to any use and without any originality of thoughts, he is the coveted custodian of Religious knowledge, a religious leader and a religious professor to boot. They are now the High Priests, the member of Council of Rabbis, member of the council of ulamas, The Holiness.
With the political credential and popularity, he needs to be in the religious main stream. Our new Religious professor now lays claims to be the custodian of the Holy Books. No interpretations of the scriptures are allowed. No self study of the Holy books is allowed without the presence of religious teachers and scholars. Credentials become a necessity in order to read the Book of God.
The right of the individual to have access to the words of God is severely challenged. Qualification is now required. Command of the original Language of the scripture is a pre requisite. An “inter-mediator” Class is now created not unlike the exclusive rights of architects to interpret architectural drawings.
The secret bullets in their justifications often are hidden in technicalities. Their arguments are now spiced with divine sounding jargons to put the critics off track and to impress the audience. Forget the promise that words of God are simple and the promise by God that the revelations is to all humanity All the assurance by God now are being put at their backsides for their own worldly gains.
He is perpetuating the ignorance of his flock and capitalising it.
Had they remained in the cloak of the chosen religion, damage would be contained and not widespread. Having failed to gain real political power on the strength of their religious home base, the politician realizes that he needs to be accepted by others not professing his religion. Gone are his collars or frocks or religious robes. The politician spin makers start projecting our aspiring president or prime minister in designer suits and being interviewed by mainstream media. Our future leader our future statesman.
He would start telling about the many friends he has who do not profess his religion. He would start quoting conversations and intellectual discourses he had with the friends of other religions. May I ask sir, what is the name of that friend of yours? I would like to become his friend too sir.
In the midst of these polemics I remember what Socrates said, “I would rather concentrate in spreading the good words for free. If I want to have monetary rewards I might as well become member of the senate”
As a subscriber of broadband concept in religion, I am wary of the intolerance I am showing.
I can coexist with CR’s. They have the right to expressions but I cannot let them be in a position of power. The danger I am pointing out now, is the exclusivity, chauvinism they are showing and elitism they are promoting, holier than thou mindset they have. Religion can not be hijacked by someone in a position of power nor can it be hijacked by any group of people.
Will you promise me that I can interpret my Holy Scriptures sir? Will you promise that you will not impose upon me your beliefs and practices sir? Will you encourage broadband religion sir? Can you not be non judgemental sir?
The designer suits do not hide the thoughts and intellectual ability to be tolerant and broadband.