« on: August 08, 2006, 01:50:26 PM »
I thought I'd share this article with you, that I wrote under tenth grade exams.
Oppressions of religion
Caution: The quotations in this article are to be regarded as paraphrased, due to certain foolish restrictions on noting. Hence, the quotations are recited from memory.
Most people believe that their religion holds the answers to questions such as “Who am I? “, “Why am I here?”, “What’s the truth?” etc. In the sanctuary of these answers they find the much needed comfort of certainty. You feel that you’re on top of everything and that you have secured your future. The need to feel secure is something everyone would like, even I. It is the very sensation of safety that enables us to “be free”. For example, I wouldn’t ride the rollercoaster unless I was perfectly sure that it was safe. Since I am sure, I have the freedom to ride it.
What many people do not realize, is the difference between “feeling free” and “being free”, “feeling oppressed”, and “being oppressed”. This ignorance makes them targets and victims of “religious oppression”. In other words “brainwash”. What religion does is to offer a fake sense of security, giving the victim freedom it really doesn’t have. Allowing people to do things they should not do. This quote from Blaise Pascal should explain what I’m trying to say:
“Never does one completely and cheerfully become so evil, other than when you’re under religious conviction.”
Since I know most about the Muslim communities, I’ll use them as an example. The word “Muslim” will be used in this article to describe the people who fit the qualities attributed to them in the sentences. Therefore I’m not referring to all Muslims, but those who fit my comments.
Blindly following authority
The significance of an authority figure is important in any system, but the need to criticize the ones who take this role even greater. If people won’t keep an eye on their government, there would be tyranny. This is exactly what has been happening in religious communities. The scholars make the law, no one can dispute or criticize, and most important: No one can contradict. And if you do criticize and contradict, expect to be punished. The worst part however, is that the followers of that religion condone and accept this power. This is especially true when coming to Muslims. While many of the modern Muslims are more immune to the priesthood of their Muslim communities, there are still many Muslims that follow the orders of their scholars blindly. This is quite dangerous indeed and one should know that from the many “events” recently.
The reason why religious scholars have gained so much power is that they offer their followers a sense of security. Promises such as the famous “72 virgins in heaven for every suicide bomber” makes the bomber feel that suicide is just as safe as I believe rollercoaster rides are. But offering security is not the only trick these scholars have up their sleeves. They have gone so far that they will even take responsibility for your sins. They say “If you do as we say, we’ll take responsibility for your actions”.
Who can resist safety and exoneration from ones responsibilities? It’s the ultimate freedom!
And if that’s not enough, they’ll add that all of this is the true path of God. You may not believe that what I’m saying is true, or even imagine that anyone can be so ignorant, but if you take into consideration that they have been living under this false sense of security since they were born, things might become clearer.
You should now know why people do silly things because of religion. These people believe that by for example blowing themselves up, they have secured a place in heaven. They believe that they have secured eternal freedom.
And this is religious oppression. You believe that you’re on the right track, you believe that you’re secure, you believe that your free and if you err doing what your told to do, others will take the blame. What a profound delusion. These people are heavily oppressed, and their helpless because they don’t even know it. They’re slaves doing exactly what they’re told and they’re happy with it. They’re so brainwashed that the only thing they can think of is “If I do as I’m told, I’ll go to heaven. If not, then I’ll end up in hell”.
This is no secret, but it almost seems as a “taboo”, no one wants to either admit or accuse, making it even harder to save people from this oppression in disguise. Among the ones who tried to rescue people from the mental oppression of religious authorities were the prophets and philosophers. They were not afraid to rub the truth into people’s faces. We have Socrates, Moses, Galileo, Jesus, Osho, Muhammad etc. All of which where persecuted, harassed and some were killed by the very people they were trying to set free.
Why did people reject these men?
It was because these prophets and philosophers threatened the fundament of their security. They threatened the ones who promised them eternal freedom.
Other kinds of religious oppression
Until now, I’ve talked about very extreme cases of religious oppression. But there are in fact other kinds of religious oppression. We have for example food restrictions which the Muslims have on eating pig. Why don’t they eat pig? The only reason they have, is that they were told not to do so. That’s the only reason most of them have. They’re brainwashed. How do I know? I’m also brainwashed. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat pig. I admit that I have an irrational pig-meat eating phobia.
“Irrational” is the key word here. You cannot escape all religious brainwash by logic, some places you have to trust yourself. This is the single hardest task: Trust yourself. That’s actually what real freedom is all about: trusting yourself enough to believe in your own choices. If you cannot trust yourself, then whatever freedom you may believe you have is in fact oppression.
This task is easier said than done. Living in a religious community you’ve been taught that the scholars are the only ones with brains. You don’t get to make your own choices and must accept the holy verdicts of the scholars. And after sometime, you get used to people thinking for you, and accept that thinking for yourself is egoistic and even blasphemous. In change for your brain, you get the fake sense of security and eternal freedom.
Are these people necessarily religious?
It’s obvious for me that these people do not really know the scriptures they claim to uphold. The Muslims say that they uphold the Quran, yet they don’t know that Quran forbids such religious oppression.
We read in the Quran chapter 7 verse 28:
“They commit a gross sin and say “We saw our forefathers do this and god told us to”. Nay! Are your saying about god what you don’t know?”
We read in the Quran chapter 39 verse 18:
“They are the ones who examine all the words and then chose the best of it. These are the guided ones”
Here we see that a person is responsible for building his own faith and that blindly following your family or deluding yourself to believe that you know god, is forbidden. You are to think for yourself. This is how you’ll get true freedom.
Religious oppression limited to religion only?
No. This kind of oppression is found in nearly every system where people follow authority blindly. Take for example the school system. Are the students allowed to criticize the teachers? Are the students allowed to criticize the books? Are the students even allowed to choose what they want to learn? No, no and no!
Students sit there and swallow whatever the teachers tell them, unless it’s highly contradictory to what they have been taught previously. Why do the students endure this? Can you guess?
It is because they’re offered the same comforting security of a free life. They’re guaranteed good education, a good job, basically a good future. All they have to do is what the teachers tell them. Does this ring a bell?
We have now exposed how religion promises freedom but delivers oppression. We have learned how people will do almost anything in order to get freedom. We have also learned that if you want to be free from oppression you have to start trusting yourself and make your own decisions. We are also aware the fact that this kind of oppression is not limited to religion, but is a part of every system where people blindly follow authority.
My hope is that my readers realise that they should be cautious to freedom promises. The best way to achieve freedom is to fulfil your responsibilities. You’ll find that being able to do the things that make your life meaningful is a great freedom in itself.
Some paragraphs were poorly formulated and insufficiently explained, this was because of the rush of exams. I hope the readers will go softly on those paragraphs.