You know, we don’t all have to be religious, or faithful, or practicing believers. But like most things Gambian these days our differences in politics, values and cultural norms cannot be looked at with respect and regard for those we differ with, we have to attempt to tear them down to elevate ourselves; that attitude also extends into the religious/spiritual sphere. The rising number of atheist/agnostic beliefs and ‘free-thinkers’ in our midst comes with a new wave of attacks on our long held values and belief systems often in very condescending and disrespectful language. One’s experiences and disposition influences their beliefs and outlook on the world; nothing wrong with choosing your own path based on your convictions.
It is a concerning trend that people of faith or morally conservative people are increasingly becoming a target for denigration by people who view themselves as ‘enlightened’ because they successfully “broke free of indoctrination.” In actual fact what is often on display is the sheer ignorance and lack of understanding for something they claim to understand – religion. Instead of attempting to suturathemselves by acknowledging their ignorance and treading their chosen paths blissfully, they put their ignorance on display brandishing it as enlightenment. According other people the respect they deserve regardless of their values is basic human decency. From culture, to traditions, values and belief systems it is an unending display of intolerance and sheer impudence for “others” of whatever category
Worse, some of them do not know which way to lean; even the African spirituality some are prone to using as an excuse is hardly understood. “The Europeans and the Arabs forced their beliefs on us.” Ask them to explain what it is we had before that, beyond a name they have no clue as to the concept of African spirituality. Science on the other hand I’d like to think only fascinates them. That lack of insight and the audacity to challenge others on their convictions is the really irksome part. They will claim that people of religion do not like to be challenged; truth is a challenge has to be academic; probing, insightful questions for better understanding not one aimed at ridiculing and insulting which is what almost always obtains, not to mention the air of condescension that accompanies it.
It is really pitiful to see some of them try to argue from a supposedly logical point of view; they claim that religion is illogical, that there is no scientific evidence that God exists. But as far as we know, their logic has fallen short of conclusively declaring or proving the non-existence of God. It has been observed that the same evidence put forth as prove that there is no Creator but the laws of physics and nature, is the very same evidence used by the faithful to argue their case.
Let’s indulge your logic for a moment; all the known elements in the universe originated from the big bang. With the ever expanding universe, it has been established that there are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy (the Milky Way), one of the smallest galaxies; add to that the scientific fact that there are over 100 billion galaxies in the OBSERVABLE universe. Through billions of years of formation and evolution only one tiny planet was able to collect the needed elements essential for life in just the right amount – EARTH. If we were even a few inches closer to the sun than we currently are life as we know it will not be suitable for this planet, it will be barren.
That precision is not by intelligent design? No we are told there is a perfect explanation by using physics. There is one problem though; Over 80% of what constitutes the mechanisms of the universe is unknown to science. They call it dark matter or dark energy; none of the laws of physics apply when it comes to dark matter. Here is some physical presence/phenomena that if subjected to the laws of physics breaks every rule, yet you want to subject people’s faith to the logic of physics discounting metaphysics and the unknown aspects of our consciousness?
The answers we get are not convincing enough, even if they are, using mathematical probabilities we know what is unknown is way more than what is known; if you want to rely on that small probability to convince you, by all means go ahead, some of us have our doubts about that theory and so hold on to something that speaks to our hearts; faith.
Faith is a gift that not everyone is bestowed with, so it is hard to explain. Claiming that you were faithful until you found ‘enlightenment’ in science, logic and reason is flawed, what in fact happened was that you conformed but never truly believed. Truth is, it has always been about what you desire and how people see you. Now that you need to take on a different persona to ‘fit in’ somewhere where you can indulge your desires unrestrained, you switched allegiances and conformed to something else, so don’t come around insulting our intelligence with your anti-religious stance. Atheist/agnostic beliefs appeal to you, uphold them by all means, be a ‘Free-Thinker’.
I am not a religious scholar, nor am I versed in scripture, but I thank God that he endowed me with faith, and my curiosity like many others does not let me just conform, seeking genuine answers help strengthen and cement one’s faith. Seeking knowledge, which is what we have been obligated to do requires asking questions and seeking answers; if such a search is preceded by sincere curiosity it opens doors to answers. Such sincerity is what can be said to be lacking in those who seek to ridicule and mock people of faith; their only goal is to ridicule so they stumble upon those things in religion that will cement their lack of faith even further because they lack insights as to context and nuance, or deliberately disregard such.
A lot of people sacrificed their lives, their wealth, their families, and their time to better humanity’s lot; convinced by nothing order than the conflict between the values and teachings of their faith and the conditions of fellow human beings. If you are not out to genuinely seek answers to better understand your fellow human being, out of respect for those men and women please tread your path and let those who choose to tread another path do so each convinced in their belief that their chosen path serves them best. As long as no one tries to force their values on you, let them be until you truly understand what motivates them.
Live and let live, but more importantly have informed opinions first before sharing.