Saturday, April 23, 2011

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Questions, Language and Interpretation

The post-modern world is increasingly about questions, language and interpretations… What do Christians mean when they talk about God? What do Muslims mean when they talk about Allah? Obviously not all Christians understand ‘God’ in the same way, just as there must be differing interpretations of ‘Allah’ within Islam…

Does Atheism mean a lack of spirituality? Is it a rigid rejection of all forms of organised collective spirituality? Is it a rebellion against religious parents? Or, is it a dismissing and rejection of the irreconcilable squabbles between opposing religions and religious factions?

Are atheists anarchists by default? Or, are there branches of positivist atheism?

Are there any statistics on Lebanese atheism?

How does atheism relate to communism? Is there a place for an atheist political platform in Lebanon? As an atheist, do you accept that people have a right to believe in their particular religion?

I loathe to pigeon-hole myself, but if I had to I’d say “I’m anarchist”. I don’t believe in the Christian idea of God as “the Creator”, I’m not sure what the dominant interpretation of “Allah” is within Islam. Some of the most generous people I know are deeply religious. I don’t agree with them but I accept their choice to have faith in something they’ll never know to be correct or not…

Is there a ‘greater force’ that connects us all? Could one apply the word ‘God’ to the Universe itself? God as the creation, not the creator? I am the proud wearer of a pagan Celtic cross tattoo – a cross that shows the physical elements of water, earth, air and fire working together to create the 5th element, which is consciousness.

Are religions merely crude doctrines that were necessary for organising societies in times of scientific ignorance? Or, were religions always used by the social elites to control the masses ‘beneath’ them?

Maybe you know the answers to some of these questions, or have strong opinions on what the answers should be… One thing is for sure though, whatever our opinions are in the realms of God and religion all they can ever be is just that – opinions. The whole God/Religion thing is totally improvable, which is why I like the response Buddha had to the question ‘Is there a God?’, he is said to have replied ‘Who, on earth, can answer that question?’ Don’t you dare try and call me Buddhist though!

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