Tag Archives: coexist

Is atheism a religion?

Sometimes in criticising that which we believe to be closed-minded, we become just as closed-minded as those we aim to criticise. For example, non-religious people can be very critical of the devoutly religious, but in their criticisms, they become just as closed-minded as the people they seek to criticise. It is important not to become closed-minded in seeking open-mindedness. In attempting to discredit something for being ignorant, intolerant and dogmatic; it is important not to become ignorant, intolerant and dogmatic ourselves.

Atheism can be just as dogmatic and impenetrable as theism. Believing that God exists or believing that God doesn’t exist can still be narrowed down to believing. Sometimes believing in something makes us so focused on our specific belief that we fail to take anything else into account, including the lack of logic in our own beliefs (I think the same can be said for knowledge). In the words of JP Sears*- “Rebel against dogmatic religious terminology by dogmatically using spiritual terminology…You don’t see that you are actually still subscribed to the exact same belief system, you’re rebelling against; because now you are expressing the same concepts just with new words.”

Theists believe in God and seek to prove that God exists, and atheists (who do not believe in God) seek to prove that God does not exists…both are trying to prove something- and this proof usually comes in the form of intolerance towards anyone who has an opposing belief. This intolerance usually manifests itself through venomous phrases such as- “Religion is the root cause of all the violence in the word” and “Genocides have been committed by atheist, like Mao, Pol-Pot and Stalin”

What makes atheism or religion either violent or peaceful are the individual people who subscribe to either atheism or religion. We cannot afford to make blanket statements like “all religious people promote violence” or “all atheists are immoral” because these stereotypes are simply not true. Both atheists and theists (hopefully) want to build a peaceful world without wars and violence, they just want to go about it in different ways- without God and with God. In putting each other down, we take steps further and further back from our goal of building a more harmonious and peaceful world.

For me personally, whether atheism is perceived as a religion or not is irrelevant. Forcing people to adhere to your ways, whether you are an atheist or a theist is wrong (For more on this point, please read my blog post titled “Do you prefer tea or coffee?” ) What matters most is finding a way for everyone to respect, appreciate, accept, understand and finally coexist with one another.

http://steve.rogueleaf.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/140308-Tit-For-Tat-Atheism-Religion.png
http://steve.rogueleaf.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/140308-Tit-For-Tat-Atheism-Religion.png

* Check out the video “How to be Ultra Spiritual (funny) with JP Sears- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDso5ElFRg 

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled“Introduction…”.

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Do you prefer tea or coffee?

This post has been inspired by the following image that has been shared on Facebook-

subway bunnings

(*Subway is an American fast-food restaurant franchise that sells sandwiches; and Bunnings is an Australian hardware and household chain)

Whenever I have discussions with people about sexual preferences and religion, I usually always refer to the following analogy-

You like tea, and the person next to you likes coffee. If you convince the person next to you to drink tea, will your tea-drinking experience be somehow enhanced? Will it make your tea taste better? Likewise, if the person next you convinced you to drink coffee instead of tea, would their coffee now taste better as a result? Given that the obvious answer is “no”… converting a tea-drinking person to coffee of a coffee-drinking person to tea, will do nothing more than make a tea-drinker adhere to a coffee-drinker’s personal choice, or make a coffee-drinker adhere to a tea-drinker’s choice. A person, who freely elects to drink tea or coffee, should understand that others are just as free to make the same decision. There is a reason why both tea and coffee exist.

“Tea” and “coffee” can be substituted for “heterosexual” and “homosexual”, or “religious” and “not religious”, “vegetarian” and “not vegetarian” etc. I really cannot understand how people feel entitled to get “offended” by someone else’s decisions to prefer “tea” over “coffee” or vice versa. If you feel entitled to make a “choice” between “tea” and “coffee”, the person next to you is just as entitled to make the same “choice”. Their choice should not offend you, and your choice should not offend them.

As long as we have mutual understanding, mutual acceptance and a mutual desire towards peace and coexistence, it really doesn’t matter who drinks tea and who drinks coffee.

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled“Introduction…”.

Bikinis, niqabs, oppression and assumptions.

assumptions

Image:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/547539267167376074/

I recently had a conversation on a Facebook thread with a close friend of mine after I had shared an article with the following feature image:

WaterWorld-Stoke-on-Trent-waterpark-burqa-Muslim-584338

(The article can be found on http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/584338/WaterWorld-Stoke-on-Trent-Muslim-Islam-waterpark-women-only-bikini-ban-clothing-veil-burqa, but this post relates to the feature image, rather than the content of the article itself)

My close friend (who is a Muslim female) had left a comment stating that she found the image to be an ‘interesting’ depiction of what is ‘Islamically appropriate’. I followed on by saying that a niqab (a form of veil that covers everything other than the eyes, as depicted in the above image) is not the only form of female attire that is considered ‘Islamically appropriate’. My close friend followed on to say that what she meant by her initial comment was that the opposite of ‘Islamically appropriate’ doesn’t necessarily mean bikini.

My close friend went on to say that a lot of non-Muslims associate Islam with a niqab and opression in the same way that a lot of Muslims from Islamic countries associate non-Muslims with open relationships, provocative attire and prostitution. Obviously these sorts of stereotypes are intolerant and incorrect. Islam doesn’t equate to niqab and not-Islam doesn’t equate to open relationships and provocative attire. To quote my close friend- “I think we need more knowledge and less assumptions” I couldn’t agree more and I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Islam is much more than a niqab and non-Islam is much more than a bikini.

As I have already mentioned in my post titled “Does he drink alcohol? Does he eat pork?” religion can be followed to various degrees and there is no single unanimous expression of a particular religion. The same goes for culture, national identity and much more.

In my previous post, I suggested that the best way to combat intolerance is through education, positive reinforcement and love. Likewise the best way to fight assumptions is though actual knowledge, not further assumptions that only lead to more and more intolerance.

Below, is another image that highlights the unfortunate nature of assumptions, which also suits the given theme of bikinis, niqabs and oppression.

opression Image: Cartoonist Malcolm Evans

 Unless the woman on the right lives in a country that makes any other form of attire other than a niqab illegal, both women are exercising their free will (if there is such a thing) to dress how they wish; and both women are making assumptions about one another. The woman on the left probably doesn’t think she is oppressed and the woman on the right probably doesn’t think she is oppressed either; yet oppression is the exact conclusion they have each reached about one another’s choice of attire.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”- Isaac Asimov

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Although I am new to the blogging world and am completely incompetent at using technology (I only recently learned how to make hyperlinks), I believe that my message of peace and tolerance needs to be heard. To learn a little bit more about my background please read my post titled “A little bit about myself…”. To learn more about why I started this blog, please read my post titled “Introduction…”.

A little bit about myself..

I am a Russian Orthodox -Jewish-Muslim.

Isn’t that a mouthful? Is that even possible, I hear you say?

Allow me to elaborate…My father is Jewish and my mother is of Russian Orthodox faith. I was baptised and am , to some extent, a Russian Orthodox.  Traditionally the Russian Orthodox faith is passed down along the father’s line, which complicates my situation given that my father is a Jew.  Judaism, on the other hand, is passed down along the line of the mother. Given that my mother is Orthodox, I also can’t really call myself Jewish. Ironically, I have parents of two religions, and I technically belong to neither even though I embody both.

Amongst my mother’s side of the family, I am known as “the Jew”, and amongst my father’s side of the family, I am known as “the Christian”. Similarly, given that I am an immigrant from Russia, I am considered a “Russian” in Australia and an “Australian” in Russia.

Just getting that down on paper has made me question how I haven’t yet had an  identity crisis/nervous breakdown in my life. But wait-because that wasn’t confusing enough, the plot thickens…My husband-dearest is an Iranian Shia Muslim.

Personally, I can’t wait for my children to start posting on this blog, because their stories will probably be even more unconventional than mine, given that they will embody three religions that, generally speaking, can’t seem to agree on anything other than a war. However, given that my husband and I are only at the “practicing” stage of the baby-making process, you- dear reader, will have to make-do with my stories.

Love and Light ❤

Image- http://blog.ccbcmd.edu/rpurimetla/files/2012/04/coexist_happy_700w.jpg