Imagine the following encounter and resulting conversation:
An old lady is walking down a street in Pakistan. She encounters a man, a Taliban insurgent. She confronts the man and argues his ways are immoral and tries to promote peace, after all Islam from her perspective brings comfort and love. He has been mislead and has misunderstood Allahs message.
He then argues back that the same religion has given him instructions to kill all enemies of Islam, and that for the world to have peace, everyone must live under the same perfect system and the flawless scripture of the Quran. The insurgent shows the lady various quotes in the same book she has based her life upon, justifying the argument. They respectfully disagree and go their separate ways.
This is obviously a very optimistic view of how such a conversation would end, I am afraid the reality of it would see the old lady’s chances of waking away very slim. An example of this would be the very brave young girl Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head for arguing her case for education, mentioned in my post Witnessing discrimination first hand.
Earlier this month I visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam. At the end of the visit I arrived at a screening by an organisation called free2choose, taking her experience, and the consideration of others who will no doubt see their freedoms taken away past, present and future. Anne Frank was a victim of political, not religious oppression. But she did have religion, and religious freedom was a topic of discussion at the end of the tour. (Link at bottom)
It is considered a standard right to many. But does freedom of religion also create a dilemma as we see so many groups using this freedom (trying) to tell us how to live?
But referring to the scenario, the two in the fictional conversation above are arguing different points, both contradicting what is right overall.
The insurgent in this case although immoral and is lacking any understanding of reason, referring to his religion, has stuck to the script. How can the old lady argue against him if she too is Islamic? Is she reading a different book? Maybe ignoring the bad and just taking inspiration from the good. Regardless delusion is in equal measure from both sides, although one side is much less of a threat, undoubtedly. But this hypocrisy shouldn’t go unnoticed.
A question to think about- is the old lady preserving religious oppression, whilst believing she is fighting for the exact opposite? If you read a book for the good passages, extremists will read the same book for the bad. It couldn’t be more simple. And it couldn’t be more true.
A priest holding a Bible may well be spreading inspirational messages, but is also in possession of literature containing work that would put Mein Kampf in the children’s section in comparison.
Religious fundamentalists misinterpreting certain verses, is myth. As is the illusion by moderates that religion can do no harm, and doesn’t intend to.
Whatever side you feel a connection to, be it the lady or the insurgent, just remember…
They still believe in the same God.
Just different sides to his attitude.