Religion & Violence: Islam, Christianity, Hinduism
As reported by The Washington Post a widow from the 2004 Madrid Train Bombing wore an infamous Danish anti Prophet cartoon t-shirt to court where out of the 29 suspects on trail most were Muslims.
While there maybe non-Muslims who would praised her courageous efforts yet there will also be the cynical ones who would indulge in arm chair punditry by trying to analyze her psyche for her token defiance in front of the Muslim suspects and the indoctrinated Muslim community would once again rehash old wounds inflicted by some silly cartoons instead of empathizing with the anguish suffered by the Madrid Bombing widow and others like her.
The majority of the Muslim world which claims to be against terrorism are of the opinion that neither Islam, nor its founder nor its scriptures can be blamed for the source of inspiration for the Muslim terrorists and they insist the terrorists legitimate their cause by misinterpreting certain verses from The Holy Koran and select quotes of the Prophet Muhammad and they do not endorse their jihadi zeal for Islamic world domination.
Violence and terror in the name of religion have shaken the world throughout history. Christianity has a terrible past of crusades and religious wars, forcible conversions in Africa and Latin America and inquisitions in Europe and in Goa; Hinduism is infamous for its violence against the Dalits and the untouchables.
Crusades and Inquisitions called on by Christian pontiffs and led by European rulers has been a black mark on Christianity as well as on the entire humanity, as no inquisitor or crusader could quote the holy Bible or quote Jesus Christ as a justification for their malicious acts, for they conducted inquisitions and waged crusades not for heavenly, divine and eternal rewards, but for political, military and imperial purposes.
The Christian crusaders and persecutors never practiced the peaceful and merciful aspects of Christianity as revealed by Christ, but the fundamentalist and exclusive nature of the Christian religion which is deep rooted in its Abrahamic base. That this was the inspiration and the motivation for the crusaders and the inquisitors is an irrefutable and indubitable fact.
Scriptures and the messages of the founder and his apostles may not have been much of a contributory factor to the Christian dark ages, but still the Pauline justification of slavery in the epistles was used in enslaving hundreds of thousands of dark skinned people from the dark continent of Africa to be transported to the new continent of America.
It also forced the indigenous population of the new world to transplant themselves from their own land to the unexplored regions crossing the Rocky mountains and the mighty rivers, a chapter of history condemned by the current United States president as "one of the largest migrations of history was also one of the greatest crimes of history".
Might the Christian brutality and immorality of the past been admitted by the western thinkers, philosophers and leaders of our ages, might the former head of state of Vatican have pleaded "mea culpa" "and mea maxima culpa" before the crucifix for all the worst Christianity performed for the last two millennia?
President Bush was right in referring to the trans-Atlantic exploration and settlement by the Europeans and the sufferings and misery that it brought it to the natives on both sides of the Atlantic as "one of the greatest crimes of history", but besides being aware, Humanity is yet to admit that the greatest ever crime of history was indeed the greatest civilization established by the mankind as well, namely the Indian or the Hindu civilization.
Chaturvarnya by effect was more horrible and malevolent than any other system based on human degradation and inequality, where hundreds of millions of humans lived lives far worse than that of animals just because of their conceptually inferior birth. They had no scope of claiming dignity as humans, had no hope of the betterment of present, had no rights to dream of a bright future.
Blaming their births excused their miserable fates and that of their future generations. Only through death could they escape the terrible sufferings or by submitting themselves to the servitude of those who were born conceptually superior and hoping that by doing so they would escape the sufferings in the next rebirth. It is a concept of extreme humiliation and self-enslavement, as reveled in and glorified by the holy scriptures and the divine figures of the Hindu religion.
Scriptures were only a justification for the violence committed against the dalits and the untouchables . The upper castes oppressed them not for heavenly and divine reasons but for social factors. The inclusive nature and the un-dogmatic foundation of Hinduism was such that the verses of the divine scriptures and the messages of the divine figures could be revisited, re-interpreted and even renounced.
Because of this, Hinduism has been able to reform itself and no contemporary leader of the Hindu society, deriving their claim of brahmanical superiority from the divine verses of the Vedas and the Vedanta calls for violence against those who were socially challenged for centuries. The fact that the scriptures fostered aggression against these socially challenged sections for centuries has been accepted by every one and condemned by all those who believe in the equality of all men and women.
Scriptures and their messages as inspiration for violence can never be ignored or white washed as just their misinterpretations by some of the adherents. All peace loving people have to accept that these heavenly inspired scriptures (as claimed by their followers) were not in fact heavenly inspired, but written by mortals and have to be understood in the context of the social, cultural and political milieu during which they were composed. From that perspective any impartial observation would be that scriptures have been a source of violence.
Had misinterpretation of select verses been inspiration for terrorism and the killing of innocents in the name of religious duty, Hinduism would have generated the greatest number of terrorists for the fact that Arjuna was advised many times by Bhagwan in the Gita to fight and kill all those who were on the other side of the great Indian battle; even if those who were on the other side were his gurus and acharyas and those who were equivalent to his fathers - figures that Indian culture and society insist each and every individual respect as gods.
Parthasarathy was very clear in advising Partha that he would win the kingdom and enjoy the privileges of a king if he won the war. He would win heaven and the world would appreciate his glory and courage if he was killed in the war as it was his duty to fight for the kingdom such was the advice given by the incarnation of the second person of the Hindu trinity but has never been a source of motivation for the hypothetical Hindu terrorists in waging religious wars and terrorizing innocents for territorial expansion, take over of the world or for heavenly objectives.
This reminds us of the equivalent verses of the holy Koran and the messages of Prophet Muhammad and the way these verses and messages have been the source of inspiration for the Islamic terrorists.
The verses of the scriptures of the greatest philosophy, the Bhagvat Gita that humanity has ever produced could never be the source of ignition for the Hindu religious terror as they could never be taken in a violent sense and as these verses were advised to Arjuna and to the adherents of the history's oldest religion in terms of dharma and karma, not for political or military motivation.
The verses from Gita instead are till date seen as motivating influences to bring peace and prosperity to humanity where every one is reminded of his duty, submitting oneself to the peaceful fight for the well being of the world and thus as a means to bring oneself out of the ocean of earthly berths and deaths by attaining moksha which ultimately means to be part of the eternal Brahma alone.
This can not be claimed as per the scriptures of the holy Koran and the messages of the Prophet Muhammad, taking into consideration the political, military and social context of the evolution of the Islamic religion in which these scriptures were composed.
As has been admitted by the reformers of the Hindu religion, the verses of the Hindu scriptures and the messages of the divine figures of Hinduism were the cause of the dyslogistic conditions of lower castes for generations and the inspiration for their oppression.
It is an incontestable and established fact that the scriptures and the messages of the founder of Islam have persuaded the Islamic terrorists for objectives that may vary, either for the cause of the Ummah or for the take over of the world or even just for the pleasure of seventy two virgins in heaven.
If Christianity could finally turn out as a religion of peace from a religion of dark ages and as Hindus are gradually evolving as a society of egalitarian values, Islam too can eliminate the elements of terror from its belief system. But for this, Islamic Lutherans are the need of the hour, confessing the irrelevance of the verses of the Koran and the messages of its founder that encourage violence, reforming Islam from being a medieval religion to a modern religion and embracing the concept of the peaceful coexistence of different faiths, cultures and civilizations.
The proclamation of Islam as the ultimate and perfect message of the almighty to humanity for its salvation and as the sole solution to all its problems and the outlook of Islam as a political, social and military doctrine than a religion pose more grave challenges to the Islamic reformation than those faced by their Christian and Hindu counterparts.
Religion & Violence: Islam, Christianity, Hinduism
- » Published on April 05, 2007
- » Type: Opinion
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