24 April 2016

On Spiritual Masochism

I would just like to express some thoughts on the matter of developing inner faith, or on making a personal resolve to be a devout believer in God. It is quite a common phenomenon that can be seen or felt, and it seems that having a glimpse of it through another person, one can sense an awe of other-worldliness, selflessness, humility, etc. but taking a closer look and you will see that there are those who profess religiosity but when they voice their beliefs, there is lack of humility or consideration of others' point of view, without allowing for any leeway or flexibility.

One can see this on certain preachers and writers and I'm not going to mention names. They impose self-denial, suppression of thought and expression, bigotry, and unconditional following on their points of view. I even read someone who said that in an ideal Islamic State, there is no room for the arts such as poetry or literature which would comprise as products of 'innovation.' This person even when to the extent of simplistically attacking canons of philosophy as if they are a bunch of morons. He imposes an extreme rigid form of religion by encouraging self-suffering, lack of compassion and love towards others, and then he goes on to say to his followers that God will redeem their suffering. Isn't this a form of double suicide? You go on a hunger strike and refuse to take any food while it's being offered to you and then you tell others that God will redeem you and reward you for your suffering, and that the world is a place of temptation equating it to the concept of woman? That this world is evil and thus it should be condemned as such? And then you see that person airing his own opinions with absolute certainty while condemning other teachers as heretics? No doubt I am slowly realizing that his works though they are widely read are in fact poorly researched, lacking in depth, and just plain simplistic and his imposition on the understanding of religion (Islam) is literal. If one will observe, he does not respect the right of others to express alternatives while staying true to the traditions, and to assert ones identity as an individual. 

One does not need to induce suffering to oneself in order to be a better person, or be near to God. If you are hungry, eat. If you are sick, seek medication. If you feel ugly, beautify yourself. If you are ignorant, seek wisdom. If you are physically weak, develop your health: exercise, breathe fresh air and eat healthy. If your clothes are old and tattered, buy new ones that are comfortable or suit your taste. Desires or the self are not demons. They are facilitators that correspond our needs as human beings. To the extent that they are destructive, reason and general ethics provided by religion are enough for the person to help her decide as to their level of destructiveness. There is no need to conflate desires with the devil unless you are dealing with perversion which is easy to detect. One does not need to compromise ones individuality to be a part of a community or a cause. One does not need to love suffering in order to be near to God. One does not need to shut ones mind and voice and let it depend entirely on a person's dictatorial point of view, whether he is a scholar or not. And I am not going to quote any verse or narration just to prove that what I am saying is 'true'. The reader has a mind of her own to find them or realize them herself.