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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Give Peace a Chance

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As another year draws to a close (Chinese year, that is), I just wonder what the new year will have in store for us all.

We’re just about a month into 2006, and already things don’t look so great. To name a few,

  • The raid on Paul’s Place ushering in the new year, followed by the great Black Metal social “concern” a.k.a. WitchHunt

  • Revelations of public monies being misappropriated

  • Abuse of power

  • Further restriction of individual freedoms, particularly if you are Malay/Muslim

And we’re not even done with January yet.

Another eleven months (plus some change) to go. Do I have to mothball my black t-shirts, particularly those with images that could be construed to be anti-Islam? Or all my black clothing?

Why do I suddenly feel that this asylum of a country I call home has become so distasteful to live in? I can’t be the only one feeling this way, can I?

So far, I still have the privacy of my own home. So far. But for how long? Will there come a day when my front door gets busted in by the Morality Police, screaming – “Freeze, you evil free-thinker! We’re putting you away, so that you can reform, and become a homogenous member of our moral society again.”

I just wonder sometimes, what’s the nature of God that Muslims believe in. I’ve known God mostly to be “the Almighty and All-Merciful”, which is what every Muslim utters when he or she recites verses from the Quran.

But looking at how some Muslims (including those with some level of authority or another) carry themselves almost leads me to believe that they believe that God is the All-Petty, the All-Pissed-Off, and the All-Revengeful.

People kill in His name. Wars are declared in His name. Persecution, yup – you guessed it, in His name. Racism – in His name. I could go on, but you get the point.

What kind of a God takes pleasure in seing His creation blowing each other up?

To the 'devout' Muslim reading this: by now, you must be thinking, “What a fucking nutcase heretic. How dare you!

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but I have NOT lost faith in God. I’ve simply lost faith in those who claim to speak and act in His name. More specifically, in those that claim to be the administrators of His religion.

In my lifelong quest for the truth, I have come to the following conclusions:
We all, ultimately, worship the same God. Regardless what membership card you hold (I’ll explain why shortly). The difference is how we go about doing it.

Blasphemer! Heretic! Hell fire awaits you!

I have come to this conclusion based on the fact that all established religions share many common values – be charitable, be kind, treat your brother/sister with respect, etc. There is no religion on this planet (that I know of anyway) that teaches its followers to kill/maim/destroy anyone that doesn’t prescribe to its beliefs.

Critics of Islam, may say otherwise. But nowhere in the Holy Quran are there instructions on how to terrorize your fellow man into submission. Not explicitly, anyway. And definitely not the kind you would find in the Anarchist Cookbook.

And where there are messages to act in a violent manner when necessary, these have to be taken into context that they were revealed during times of duress and war – more importantly, however, is the reminder that in the final analysis, God will be the ultimate judge, jury and executioner.
People with ulterior, violent, and megalomeniacal aspirations, however, will always interpret the implicit in scripture as explicit, and use it to their own advantage. This is not unique to Islam, by the way. History is rife with examples.

The second reason why I believe we all worship the same Essence of Being, is that in every belief system, there is always one Ultimate being. For monotheistic religions like Islam, Judaism, or Christianity, this observation is of course a no-brainer.

But even looking at other religions that have multitudes of deities and icons, Taoism and Hinduism, for example, there is always one ‘god’ that is the buck-stops-here authority. Even in Greek, Roman and Norse mythologies, a head honcho exists; Zeus, Jupiter and Odin, respectively.

The point of this long diatribe is this: why hate someone because they are different? Why do we measure the value of someone’s existence based on whether or not that someone else is the same as us?

Why must we always look at the differences, and put so much emphasis on these differences?

In the end, only God knows best; but I do want to say this:

We are all God’s children, siblings brought up, perhaps in different “families”, as it were. Ignore this very simple and (at least to me) obvious fact, and surely then are we truly on a path to certain damnation.

And on that note, I wish my brothers and sisters, wherever you may be, Gong Xi Fa Cai… have a properous, productive and peaceful New Year. Peaceful, apart from the fireworks, that it…