August 15, 2006

Dear Anita…

Posted in Reflections, Religion at 12:23 am by egalitaria

Anita posted this on my blog yesterday:

to practice love,is it so hard? did ypu ever think that why muslims reacted that way?did you ever wonder when all you say is LOVE and its practises in your religion are, at least 3000 lebonanese are dying…and constant bombing by the israel killing little children…they are very desperate for self defence..and tell me how fo fight for your country and family that had been killed in front of your own very eyes could be preposterous. what is to rasionate is why are they doing and voilate the human rights?our prophet muhammad once said love ur people as i you love your self…does that sound any fimiliar to you?

She was writing in response to my previous posting on “Practising Love”. The gist of what she says is that it is the preaching of Love that has gone downhill because it is very poorly reflected through actions. Actually, yes Anita, I would stick to my point about Love being very difficult to practise indeed. And this is in fact the cause of a lot of heartache in the world.

I assume that you are a Muslim, Anita, since you spoke about your Prophet Muhammad. (I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for me to say pbuh but I am doing so in accordance to what I read when his name is oft quoted.) Many commandments in the Christian Bible are the same commandments given to those who are practising Judaism and Islam today. Some are not exact literal commandments, but the idea behind the practice of these three monotheistic faith religions started out very much the same.

However, along the line, someone named Jesus came along – this is what we believe in Christianity – and he happened to be someone who was both human and divine in nature. Meaning to say that, because humanity had fallen beyond any possible redemption of their own account, this guy here was sent to save us from our own downfall. I guess you could call it pity, but aren’t us humans a bunch of pitiful creatures anyway? Take a good look at humanity and you tell me we aren’t despicable and horrible, from a distance and worse up close.

So this Jesus who is Son of God, but – we believe – also God, created a bridge between our Creator and who we are down here on earth (unable to redeem ourselves cos we’re just so crap and evil). And this is the sort of love I am talking about. What is love, Anita? Perfect love shows itself in the form of sacrifice isn’t it? And can all people readily do that for someone they hate? My answer stands the same: No. Why? Because we are human. We can never do that.

And yet, each religion calls us to do that. How can I do that with a clear conscience, without myself feeling as if I were only obliging myself to do it based on the commandments of the religion? It is only upon reliance on God that I can do that. It is only through the strength that I draw from a being that is higher that I can love someone who, in all honesty and in my humane bestial nature, I am so inclined to hating.

And don’t tell me that it is easy for you to love when you naturally feel inclined towards hatred. Because it is not.

And so if you are a Lebanese, Anita, I fully emphathise with you if you have seen your families being killed before your very eyes. In fact, my heart tears apart thinking of the pain and suffering that you people have to go through each day. We pray for you. Deep down in my heart I wish there was something I could do on a massive scale to end this. And I know you would be inclined to blame the Israelis for their continued efforts to bomb up Lebanon, defying the UN peace treaty, and taking any last chances they can before the ceasefire starts.

But you know what? Blaming any one side will not help anybody. Because, Anita, it is not about whose fault it is anymore than the mere admission that each one of us – each human being (yes, that includes You and Me) is faulty and full of human ‘sin’. Right down to our bone marrow, our hearts are filled with grit. Filthy little beings, we all of us are. And it is only when we can begin to admit with humility that we are ALL like that – not one with exception – that we can stop this nonsensical fingerpointing and come up with effective policy resolution.

I would say that it is pride and greed that drive mankind to act the way we have acted thus far. So, Anita, if you are reading this (I hope you are, since you posted a message and it is good responsibility to check if the blogger has replied you), I hope you understand my situation. From far away, I cannot fully emphathise with your situation but I think that it has to start with looking at oneself’s heart. The macro perspective is only the micro magnified.

God bless you, your family, the little children around you. May He grant you protection, safety, warmth and spiritual comfort as you struggle to come to terms with these life-breaking moments. If you emerge alive from this, you will be a stronger person. I hope you will not grow up with hatred. I hope you will take this as a lesson that hatred is something horrible to be thrown away. Please look at the situation objectively and seek as best you can to Love with all your heart. And if you can’t find in one cell of your body to love, remember what I said here: I never said loving is easy. But because of one man who was willing to show that tremendous amount of love for us all, I can do it. I love because He first loves me. An abundant, overpowering love that knows no measure.

I pray that you can lead by example. Love when loving is difficult: that is my message to you, Anita.

All the best and keep in touch.

Your friend, Egalitaria.

4 Comments

  1. Torkwase said,

    I wish the Muslim world would open their minds to the fact that the war has never been against Islam as a religion. The crises in the middle east (Israel-Palestine, Israel-Lebanon) has always been precipitated by land. Remember that there are also Christians in these countries. The distrust by other faiths (not just Christians mind you) of Islam arose out of the reprisal by Muslims against the West through suicides, mass killings, which they have always claimed was in the name of Islam, and in defence of Islam. So obviously people of other faiths have started to view the religion on the basis of these religion based killings. After all the Christians have never said they were embarking on wars in Iraq etc for the purpose of killing Muslims because they practice Islam. Christianity based on Christ preaches love and peace and although Islam, Judaism and Christianity (before Christ) speak about an eye for an eye in their individual holy books, Christianity took a divergence when Christ came and dwelt among us men, lived, preached and died LOVE-the ultimate sacrifice. The humanity side of the Christian might propel him to kill and sin but he or she knows that his bible has preached that he/she is to love his neighbour and forgive no matter the wrong and number of times because God forgives him even while he is on earth. God also told us in the bible that “Vengeance is mine”, so we should not fight for God.
    If you are an infleuntial muslim, then please inform your fellow muslims to champion their cause to fight for injustice towards mankind through peaceful means but not to take this injustice to mean it is against their religion, Islam. God bless you.

  2. Hedonese said,

    Yup, we need courageous men and women of good will on all sides to speak up and prevent faith from being co-opted by the more ‘extremist’ and violent groups…

  3. Leon said,

    The world fights mostly for political reasons (read land, resources) and then just throws a religious facade on it. Sometimes, in certain cultures where there is little or no distinction between church and state, the fight for our food and wealth becomes a fight for God without the need for an intentional facade.

  4. dbctan said,

    like it or not there is a genuine disconnect between reality and perception, and in most cases perception has the upper hand. how should we then live?


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