What happens when false Prophets take us all on a wrong turn?

June 5, 2010

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One of the perennial struggles between faith and state is not usually found in what religious adherent chooses to believe in – in the grander scheme of things that has to be relatively benign when compared to how they choose to articulate those beliefs in a real world setting – the distinction may appear so fine as to even be non-existent; but that’s ONLY if you can bear out the idea; all differences lie in only the details and these can be negotiated happily away without too much fuss – but one problem with ALL faiths (regardless of their lineage) is most of the tenets which makes up the religious form and content are usually non- negotiable – for starters; they’re couched in terms of either – you’re either with it 100% or not at all; and one reason accounting for the finality of most faiths may have something to do with how they regularly leverage on the worse type of authority –as they implicitly rely on the corrosive power of ONE – this hardly requires any elaboration and the idea goes all the way back to the aphorism – absolute power corrupts and corrupts absolutely! – whether that authority is to be found in ONE infallible leader, ONE interpretation of sacred writings, or ONE method to winnow truth from lies – underscores the corrosive nature of power when it’s reduced to just the power of ONE.

That accounts for why even within one religious denomination be it Christianity, Judaism or Islam there may very well exist many different points of views concerning the thorny subject of enlightenment – as there is no such thing as one timeless, natural and universal version that appeals to all denominations – that simply means church A will in all probability belong to one stripe of religiosity that differentiates it from church B and so on and so forth – that also means religious adherents are likely to adopt partisan like positions to articulate their beliefs.

A corollary of that idea suggest that unlike science or politics, where there may perhaps be many authoritative figures such as like Einstein, Newton, Marx, Smith etc, who may have once occupied pole positions in their respective field in the past century, but for most of us unlike religious adherents these figures are NEVER ever treated as infallible prophets – let alone considered the gold standard of beaconing out the murk in perpetuity.

In the study of science and politics for example; those who respect independence of mind and openness to contradiction – frequently shy away from the cult of veneration and askance is even encouraged to the extent where it is impossible for any single proponent of a theory to command universal deference without at least being challenged to supply a cogent explanation – one reason for the skeptical nature of science is implicit within the understanding of that makes up the geneology of science is the idea that knowledge is always work in process – no one has a monopoly on the truth; as the truth is neither static or fossilized; it’s an organic thing – granted Einstein may still command widespread respect for mooting the subject of relativity; but ask any undergraduate physics major today and the chances are if he really wanted to know more about the theory of relativity – he would probably not even bother reading the seminal papers of Einstein, because today even a college graduate understands the theory of special relativity better than Einstein did.

We have progress. Indeed, in the form in which Einstein once fleshed out his theory; he would probably be considered a waffling academic derelict these days – as despite the great hype and spin sorrounding the persona of Einstein; he was in the trade nothing more than the guy who first started the ball rolling; since then many others have dwelled deeper into the subject of relativity thereby extending its range thus benefiting mankind.

This only goes to illustrate that just as the scientific world has benefitted immensely from the whole idea of decoupling enlightenment with the whole idea of personality – religion too can do with fewer prophets – neither does it pay to venerate any one single religious figure – if anything they should aspire to be nothing more than a humble radio that is duty bound to transmit the word of a supreme being – treating religious leaders as deferential figures who are somehow enlightened or annoited serves no purpose other than the interest of charlatans, hucksters and snake oil peddlers – and that as we know is simply bad teaching and we all know where that road leads too.

Darkness 2010

“There is nothing fundamentally wrong with religion – Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and even the Hare Krishna movement are all good – don’t believe me go and pick up a copy of the Talmud, Bhavagad Gita or even the Quran and read it from cover to cover – they all advocate peace, tolerance and understanding – the problem lies with these post modernist prophets who regularly interpret the holy text – they are no bloody good – as the Cantonese say, ‘Moh lieu toh!” – (no substance!) Because if they are really good then you will not get people like Osama Bin Laden who believes that all humans should live only one way and all other considerations lie in only the details – if you had good prophets then they would have very little reason to drive around in expensive BMW’s, travel first class or even feel the need to tell us all God asked them to be Bob the builder? – while the vast majority of their congregation are making do with buses, trains and instant noodles – and let me tell you another thing; you don’t have to be anointed either; don’t even need to quote one line of verse; all you have to do is use your brain that God gave you to figure out all of this – it’s all there – that’s why I give no one chutpazh on the cheap; not the pope, not Madoff, not even the Dalai Lama…and if they were all really worth their weight in salt…they would neither insist or ask for such a privilege either…..you have no right.”

Darkness 2010


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