Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is religion worth considering at all?

Religion is not and cannot be a trivial issue. If someone comes to me saying: "I have the truth of life to tell you about, and your believing or not believing in it will have very serious consequences that will last forever", then the least I am expected to do would be to listen carefully to whatever they have to say. I will lose nothing by listening and considering and giving such serious claims the thinking they deserve, but in the same time I will trust both my intuition and my logic to judge if those claims are worth considering any further. Religions claim to bring us books sent by the Creator of the Universe, and it would be VERY unwise to discard the whole thing and decide that we don't even need to consider. The most important thing in the quest is to trust in ourselves, in our ability to learn, to study and to judge ideas, to distinguish between logical and illogical, between things that seem to have a good chance of being true and those who don't fit comfortably with our common sense.
This idea is illustrated in the Quran in the story of Moses and the Pharaoh, it's such a simple logic, and one needs to be really close-minded not to listen and appreciate what this wise man said, then his words were made eternal by the Quran (as in many instances throughout the Book, names are not mentioned, because what matters most is not WHO is saying, but WHAT is being said):
"A secret believer from Pharaoh's family said, 'How can you kill a man just for saying, "My Lord is God"? He has brought you clear signs from your Lord-if he is a liar, on his own head be it-and if he is truthful, then at least some of what he has threatened will happen to you. God does not guide any rebellious, outrageous liar. My people, as masters in the land you have the power today, but who will help us against God's might if it comes upon us?" Quran, Chapter 40, Verses 28,29
The idea of killing Moses as an answer to his message-just because he was inviting those people to a very different truth from what they were familiar with-symbolizes what many humans keep doing when they reject an idea or a claim, just because it differs from whatever they are used to believe. So the first step in our quest of the truth is to reject not any serious claims about the truth of life until and unless we listen and consider with an open mind. But what comes after that is even more challenging, which is how to set ourselves free from our traditions and all that we are so familiar with. I will talk about that in my coming posts, insha'Allah (God will).