This is a guest post by Irtaza Hussain
Have difficulty in trying to see why religion gets a bad reputation amongst some people? No problem, just see the crimes done in the so called sacred name of it and see the justifications made by many for those crimes as well as the condition of the majority of its adherents to know how limiting it actually is to the lives of many. Of course, you can say that it’s their life and happiness is the primary goal but doesn’t that mean that people should be more educated in their own religion? What about the social mobility through education that many say has considerable significance? But it seems those questions aren’t very important. Apparently it’s too much to ask them to partake in such a task, some may not be up to it as I’m advised but I also have to consider the idea how intuitive it is as well as how important it is in changing our viewpoint.
One would immediately think that these kind of biases have no reason to clog up the mind in more satisfying pursuits but apparently that isn’t the case amongst the people I’ve been. Although many did suggest that some religions provoke the mind into going towards academia by suggesting that their divine guidance of choice has suggested that there are more surprises awaiting in such pursuits but I feel it’s considerably contradictory by suggesting that the supernatural element is the one worthy of all worship and will make life easier for them as soon as it’s called upon and that is all I see around me. I was participating on Big Questions that aired on the 6th of May and didn’t feel like I would actually suggest anything new but it seems to me that I may have a bit more to say than I actually thought. As soon as I suggested that we should pursue curiosity for curiousity’s sake, I was told that Muslims had done a great deal towards academia and had translated the Greek works before that. A woman on Twitter suggested that doing something for its sake isn’t exactly a good idea at all but she was okay with raising her children in Christian atmosphere and I would’ve asked her if that wasn’t for the sake of anything else other than Christianity. The orthodox community that I’ve come across would’ve suggested that it all comes down to the word of God and that is one thing I’ve been told by numerous Christians. It seems to me that this is absolutely fine for them to justify their certain habits but what about all those things that come down to their deity?
Before I left Islam, I was worried about the divide between it and numerous other things. Some people who were far more knowledgeable of Islam suggested that Muslims had done considerable work towards academia and went as far as to suggesting that Islam was one of the causes for it. It was also suggested that the works Islam was based on had also predicted or guided academia yet academia was quite simply just not the highest priority. Ever since I realised that rigour was mainly what I was aiming for, I quite simply could not make any compromises for it and had to spend a considerable time to understand and learn to make use of it in my life. The same goes for the ethics that are above religion and numerous other things that make life meaningful but what I can’t quite simply let go is how much satisfaction the religious adherents have in their apathetic attitude towards the things I’ve already mentioned. Having numerous teachers out of which I didn’t have many people who stimulated my mind in ways that would’ve been considered detrimental towards my previous religious beliefs, I’m unhappy at how they held themselves back to praise all the good things that academia has done and the rigour it possesses yet some of them took considerable effort in trying to suggest that some areas were very much likely to fail. A few teachers suggested that it was very unlikely evolution could actually be right but what they undermined was all the work in mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry and whatever subject that may be related to this would’ve been wrong regardless of the rigour that led to it, regardless of the applications that the academic work in evolution would’ve had towards the betterment of the lvies of many and regardless of all the brilliant minds and the thoughts they had towards the subject. It seems that certain topics such as evolution, cosmological origins, the working of the mind that would’ve undermined the concept of the soul and free will and numerous others would’ve been wrong because they are not in agreement with faith.
How can we let this happen? It would’ve been easy to let such ideas pass in some cases because the adherents of ignorance would’ve found someone they couldn’t easily compete against but what about those people who are dependent on these people? What if I studied under a mathematician who suggested the idea that evolution would’ve been wrong? The answer is that there would’ve been considerable consequences. If that very mathematician took his/her time to suggest that there are very interesting areas in mathematics that are made use of in evolution, I would’ve been exposed to the elegance of the subject of mathematics itself and found numerous uses for it and I would’ve been more attached to the subject during my studies. Would it have been too much to ask to be provided such passion? Although I can’t complain that my time was not well used in the past because I’ve come to realise the greatness of such subjects now, I can make a case for those who weren’t provoked at all and had a stronger dependency on their teachers and didn’t get the chance to have their curiousities sparked. It’s one of the ways I see people not taking a great interest in academia and I dearly wish that such teachers took a more stronger approach that appreaciates academia more. I feel as it is terribly hypocritical to suggest that some students may not be up to the task at all. It’s as if it’s okay to imply that some students quite simply don’t have the will that will help them achieve a greater success in this area but then why be a teacher who is there to teach them what they don’t know? If they do not have the capability to understand more then does this not negate the idea of teaching as a whole? Many people are in support of the idea that you can be all that you want to be but how would you know what you want to be if you’re not aware of all the things that you can be?
For this very reason, I feel as if people should be more curious and more appreciative of all the knowledge that there is. Having difficulty meeting likeminded people is not the reason I suggest what I already did but the idea that we need more capable people in this society who are more aware of all the things that break boundaries. It would be difficult to meet a person who had never listened to music before in his life or someone who was against music because their faith of choice commanded that this be the case, we could not let ourselves think that they were better off but what if people were not interested in the next step? Let’s say not appreaciting musicology, music cognition or the idea that AI can use the findings from those previous subjects and make music by itself. Hence, I suggest that systematic studies bring forward more for us to enjoy. If one was to suggest that splitting apart the rainbow negated the beauty of it and had disregard for all the advancements made in optics and its applications. The rainbow is still as beautiful as it can be but that doesn’t mean that knowing about optics isn’t fun at all and I suggest that people understand the idea that the mind needs to make room for the appreciation of such thinking as well because it’s satisfying in its own way.
Some may suggest that all this is dry and requires a certain amount of effort to appreciate but when wasn’t this case with all the things that we’ve learnt? I was told that some people didn’t have the interest in reading, learning and all that but it’s somehow okay to make someone feel slightly guilty or praise them for studying a religious text as well as suggesting that in time of crisis, it would’ve been okay to lose yourself in religious studying but do we suggest that some people may not have the capability as sane human beings to read those texts? I suggest that many people make ammendments in their time towards rigour and curiousity to be more aware of what is going on and accept that it is well within their reach and they should remove such idealistic thinking that hinders them in such a path, be it religion.