Some social media communication and exchanges, especially relating to religious considerations, stick out like a sore thumb.
We sometimes see crude and uncouth communications expressing divergent points of view. In expletive-laden language with vulgar words included, one is sometimes reminded to stay in one’s lane.
I believe the virtues of the Islamic faith encourage its adherents to display the highest conduct and decorum to everyone, bearing in mind we are each created by the divine Creator.
To be rude is to directly say to the Divine that the way He assigned us to different religions or ethnicities was a mistake. The direct implication is that people are graded or treated differently as a creation of God. Does that make any sense at all, from a spiritual or scriptural point of view?
Some thoughts to consider:
- Would we want to insult God? If the answer is no, why do we think we have impunity in judging some of our sisters and brothers as somehow lesser human beings than us?
- Do we feel insulated in our perception that we have an exclusivity in our belief that is denied to others who are different?
- Do we really believe that some beings, created by the same God, are undeserving of our trust, even when we seek each other in faith fellowship?
- Doesn’t God or faith desire oneness among us, with openness and transparency? Is not unity central to any scripture, whichever the source?
- Is it futile to try to achieve oneness through the seemingly hopeless quest for unity?
Personally, I feel any act of inexcusable conduct or immorality towards others is unacceptable and anti-God. So too the imposition of one group’s personal values and belief systems on others – ie the curtailing of their liberties and the intrusion into their personal space.
If we arrogantly sermonise about the goodness of our faith and preach about the greatness of our God without considering if others would be offended – this is not without consequences. The result is we might be rejected by others and perceived to be offering fables of faith.
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Many of us think we are in our own gilded cage, premised on an illusory superiority, and with the delusion that we should each stay in our own lanes. But let us ponder: is this the desire of the Divine or the dictates of inflated egos?
Consider a fully clothed young teenager innocently posing in a T-shirt but still subjected to a barrage of negative comments. Any female, across the board, should not be subjected to such scrutiny through the lens of any faith.
The personal liberty to dress as one feels appropriate or comfortable is a right. We respect people regardless of their attire.
But females are being castigated offensively by narrow-minded groups and condemned for being who they are. Some of the criticism even comes from other females.
We want a society of equality where the female is dignified and respected. I appeal to the sisterhood of females to stand up and defend their sisters. I remember a female in full Muslim attire a few years ago who was raped on a bus and killed. What did this innocent young woman ever do to deserve that?
Another example is that of an apartment community which collects management fees equally from all owners or occupants. The apartment’s management has expressed in a notice that the barbecue pit is only for halal use.
This is an absurdity. Should we have a separate barbecue pit for every religious setting?
I suspect a small but vociferous minority is infringing on the rights of others. It is baffling and appalling that such discrimination exists and public spaces are becoming a combat zone of exclusivity on the premise of faith.
Have we inexcusably forgotten that the purpose of our existence is not to serve the interests of the haves or those who are in a majority. We exist to serve the have-nots or those who are in a minority.
The abyss – the enveloping darkness we could descend into, where we could be a mirror image of Afghanistan or any other hell of no return – is a potential reality.
Some choose to discriminate using all kinds of excuses to defer to a minority mob of thugs and hoodlums. Personal liberty is held to ransom when one bows in acquiescence to whatever distorted narrative that is presented. The slaves of tomorrow are being manufactured today, when respectful challenge is absent.
To deal with any differences or disagreements, my personal faith as a Christian prompts me to serve as an ambassador of my faith. May I invite others to also become ambassadors of their own faiths so that we can reciprocate each other’s goodwill and trust.