I don’t venture into the area of religion very often, partly because I’m not overly interested from more than a sociological/philosophical perspective and given it’s a minefield that brings some seriously deranged zealots out of the woodwork at times it’s just simply easier not to.
Sometimes I’m truly inspired by the human species, from what we’ve achieved in our relatively short history. Most of all I admire that as a species we have developed learning, perspective, philosophy, an ability to question and understand both our surroundings and place in the cosmos. When you look at it from that perspective, we’re pretty damn special.
On occasion I sometimes despair about our species. When you read the ranting of someone who clearly hasn’t got a clue what they’re on about. When you comprehend the way that people use nationality, race and religion to divide and control others and seeing what truly horrendous things we can do, both to each other and our planet, it’s a shameful mark against what we are and can be.
With that in mind, I deliberately try my best not to use generalisations, not to group people together, put them in a box and label them but today is an exception of sorts.
According to the reports coming in from the Sudan. Thousands of people are marching calling for the execution of Gillian Gibbons, the teacher who allowed her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad.
That a country could have developed a legal system that would allow someone to even be imprisoned for such a thing is truly ridiculous. That people can be so easily whipped up into such a frenzy of outrage is equally baffling from a reasoned person’s perspective.
We as humans are capable of so much, but to think that fellow members of my species can be so truly stupid is just that little bit depressing at times.
How will reaction to this play out over here? Can we look forward to our own reactionary nonsense in the scream sheets calling for a halt to aid to the Sudan, playing to the simple-minded tit for tat perspective despite most of the aid we give to the Sudan, doesn’t actually go to Sudan per say, but to Darfur and should the refugees there be punished because of the stupidity of some people in Khartoum? A reasoned response would be no it’s not their fault but could they end up being the victims thanks to others?
In an attempt to ward off any people who believe that I’ve insulted them in any way I’ll add a few words. I’ve actually read a fair proportion of the Qur’an, admittedly a fair few years ago and not all of it mind you. I may well one day get round to the rest but from memory and forgive me for not having one to hand to look up the reference but I assume all this comes from the bit that forbids the iconification or physical representation of the Prophet Muhammad.
I will add that personally I think this is a very good idea. Although not religious myself I feel that from those people who I’ve discussed such topics with who are religious from different faiths including Islam that what most impressed me was their belief that their relationship with God (whichever one) was something deep inside them, not some physical representation that they needed to show or worship.
I also recognise, unlike it seems many Western commentators that describing Islam in terms of one homogeneous faith is simplistic and as much a misrepresentation of reality as for someone to bundle all Christians of all denominations together. Like Christianity and other religions it has it’s over-zealous protagonists who use scripture to promote their own agendas. It equally has it’s moderates who happily get through life with their faith as a part of them but not mobilising them to such actions. It’s also got its share of people who are happy to declare themselves of the faith but either don’t worship or undertake actions that are contradictory to it’s teachings; bit like my Catholic mate who blissfully ignores his churches teachings on contraception because he’s not daft and doesn’t fancy an STD, but he’s still a Catholic.
That said, it’s a bloody teddy bear and some primary school kids, get some perspective.