Friday, August 31, 2007

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Quote by Anais Nin

The more I experience life, the more I realise how right Anais Nin is. And it is so hard for us to see the truth, because as we see the world as we are, we are distracted from ourselves. The truly innocent eyes are those of a baby, too young to comprehend what he or she sees. Once the person starts to comprehend what is being seen, the people around the child start to colour and alter the mind's eye. Family background, ethnic roots, religious beliefs, peers, marketing, mass media, and just plain life's experiences, cause us to formulate ideas and reactions to life. But no one has perfect knowledge and at some level our deductions are bound to be wrong. What is more frightening to me are people who do not question and challenge their beliefs. It is inherent in our lot that we lack knowledge and make mistakes. And we all do. So we have to be forgiving of others and ourselves and be willing to change ourselves for the better throughout our lives. But this is a hard and tiring task.

We have already seen on news items children being trained to be soldiers in third world countries. We have also seen Muslim fundamentalists displaying much anger and rage. And they are frightening. Tonight I watched Jesus Camp, where there are churches in America indoctrinating children to be God's army. And in their intolerance and refutation of science, that is frightening. There will be a battle in America between the religious moderates and the religious fundamentalists. And if the fundamentalists win, the consequences for America and the world will be staggering.

I am told that I should respect other people's faith and beliefs. And I am pretty happy to live and let live. But when people are willing to die and kill for their beliefs, when they are willing to refute science and teach their children that creationism is the only logical explanation for life on earth, it frightens me. I mean early Chinese history dates back 8000 years. The Creationists believe that the earth is only 6000 years old as calculated in the bible.

I am afraid that religious belief, especially for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is mutually exclusive. You either believe in their god or not. How is this a message of love? Why should I not expect religious fervour to ferment wars? Religious war already exists in the middle east, in Ireland between Catholics and protestants, in Indonesia and now in Thailand. Religious tolerance does not come from within the religion, it comes from secular community which wants to have a peaceful life and prosper. The United Nations is not a religious organisation. It was formed by world governments sick of seeing the world in the chaos of war. Christian backed George Bush launched two invasions of sovereign states, and got United Nations approval as an afterthought. When you look at the Chaos and suffering of the Iraqi people, somehow I am unable to see a loving God condoning such suffering.

I see the world as I am, a person who dislikes confrontation and aggression. And the stress and intolerance that I see in this world makes me uneasy. And I am dubious of beliefs that divides groups of people into us and them. I want the world to participate in activities that bring people closer together, not ones that create tension.

1 comment:

CK Hwang said...

Wah frightening man! I hope Singapore never becomes that extreme