Sunday, March 23, 2014

Long Story Short: Belief and Atheism

So, it is Elections time in Jordan University again. It is a season that I used to love, maybe I still do love it, but not after I realized that it is always transformed into a silly parade of beliefs.

A  student elections -in an ideal world- must have something to do with a students program, academic strategies, extra curriculum activities and delivering services for students. It should have nothing to do with how "religious" are you, how "God fearing" you are, or how atheist can you be.

It is just preposterous how students are designed in a way where the world is divided into two: wither they are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or they are filthy atheists. While for the other party, the world is divided into two: Cool liberal people, and religious scumbags who are not worthy of life.

I don't even want to go deeper into the topic, because each time I go in a conversation with either parties it stuns how little they know about each other, as if each one of them is living in a separate continent. They are both full of prejudgments, stereotypical ideas and it does not stop there, but it goes to moral defaming: Both want to prove that the other is immoral, hypocrite and thoroughly dirty, and for this they use a scandalous tune where they want to socially cross out the other.

I used to be a religious person -"by the book" kind of person- and then I started thinking about things, and I started modifying my way of life based on what I came to understand, rather than what I was "raised to be", and this puts me in the very uncomfortable shoes of religious friends opening up to me, cursing and criticizing an atheist -or someone simply not as religious as they are- thinking that I have the same views as them.

So this last Thursday one of those friends, asked me to explain to her "what does an atheist person believe in, and what makes them strong in this battle in life". I paused, for different reasons, first because I always sensed some kind of inferior treatment towards me from this specific person based on the fact that the "so sacred things" for them are not that sacred for me, Second because I felt lie there is plenty of other people who could answer the question, and there is no need for her to shield herself with me if she actually wanted to get the answer for her alleged question.

Most importantly, what disgusted me, was that the question was a result of a conversation this friend had with other girls in the faculty who present themselves as atheists, and their only argument was: we are not voting for Muslim Brotherhood candidates because they are going to draft a law the obliges girls to wear a uniform to university, and headscarf will be obligatory even for christian female students!

It is those shitheads who bring bad name for atheism, where an atheist is perceived as someone who is scared of wearing long sleeves.  

I know this is gonna sound cocky when I say it, but I am gonna say it anyway: I don't believe that it is acceptable for 20 years old people to go around saying: I am muslim and proud, or I am atheist and proud. Simply because they are toooo freaking young to have such an enormous question sorted out, and if I may add: it is even worse for the religious ones, because they are backed up by an entire culture, system, society that tells them that they are RIGHT, which makes it extremely hard for them to think one inch outside the box.

And to wrap this post up, and in spite of me not having to explain anything to anybody, but still I want to post this quotation from an Amin Maalouf book that simply describes what I believe in.

“لستُ من أتباع أي دين، ولا أشعر بالحاجة لأن أصبح كذلك
وموقفي من هذه المسألة غير مريح لا سيما وأنني لا أشعر بنفسي ملحدًا كذلك. لا أستطيع أن أؤمن بأن السماء فارغة، وبأنه لا يوجد بعد الموت سوى العدم. فماذا يوجد وراء ذلك؟ لا أدري. هل يوجد شيء ما؟ لا علم لي. أرجو ذلك، إنما لا أعرف؛ وأشعر بالريبة إزاء من يدعون المعرفة، سواء كانت أشكال يقينهم دينية أم ملحدة. 
إنني في منزلة بين الإيمان وعدم الإيمان مثلما أنا في منزلة بين وطنين، ألاطف هذا وألاطف ذاك، ولا أنتمي لأي منهما. لا أشعر بنفسي غير مؤمن إلا حين أستمع إلى عظة رجل دين؛ ففي كل عظة، وكل إشارة إلى كتاب مقدس، يتمرد عقلي، ويتشتت انتباهي، وتتمتم شفتاي لعنات. غير أني أرتعش في أعماقي حين أحضر مأتمًا علمانيًا، وتتملكني الرغبة بدندنة تراتيل سريانية، أو بيزنطية، أو حتى ترتيلة القربان المقدس القديمة التي يقال إنها من تأليف توما الأكويني. 
ذلك هو درب التيه الذي أسلكه في مجال الدين. وبالطبع، أسير فيه وحيدًا، بدون أن أتبع أحدًا، وبدون أن أدعو أحدًا لأن يتبعني 

التائهون - أمين معلوف 


Haitham Jafar said...

Very, very interesting read!

* I still need to read that one by 3ammo ma3loof btw :((( :guilty smiley:

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning, how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys travelling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this, I would ask you one small favour:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Jordan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Jordan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)

If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez