Read an amazing article today. Well, the article itself perhaps wasn’t amazing, but it alerted me to something that I thought was actually fairly monumental. And that monumental thing is an example of effective cohabitation of different faiths in practice, including the big ones, Christianity and Islam.
The article in question heralded the completed construction of a crematorium in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The official religion in the UAE is Islam and for Muslims, burial is the only acceptable practice when someone dies. However as the UAE is host to a staggering amount of migrant workers, many of whom aren’t Muslim, the Abu Dhabi government contributed the funds itself to have the crematorium built. (The funeral home has a ‘detachable crucifix’ which can be removed if the deceased is a Sikh/Hindu/Buddhist/etc.) To me, this really brings into perspective the European debate on burqa-banning in public places: I’m not a fan of the burqa due to how it dehumanises women, however the idea of governments prescribing what one can and cannot wear and how to interpret one’s religion makes me equally uncomfortable.
Source: Cambridge InterFaith Group
Violent Religions is quite a dramatic or aggressive juxtaposition of words for me its a combination that at first isn’t very positive. It summons images of extremism of media coverage of whats known as terrorism and its attack on western democracy and its ideologies such as the ‘American Dream’. However it is dangerous to allow that very western stance to fully occupy our thoughts, when it comes to an aggressive element of religion. We should also be aware that religion and the way it functions through certain belief systems and cultures. Can be viewed from the perspective of a power relationship, for example within Christianity you have several different churches. And throughout their history they’ve been in conflict as to who follows the teachings of God correctly a conflict between Catholics and Protestants. These internal disputes offer an insight into how religion becomes violent its because of the need to believe in the dominant hegemonic belief. Religion simply becomes violent when its is confronted with an equally strong theology that differs from language and the form of its own teachings and proclamations. For me the most interesting example of this lies in a period of the ancient Roman empire’s history, the conversion of emperor Constantine. From paganism to christianity marked the start of a violent conflict for christianity to usurp ancient gods and become a dominant religion. Its interesting to note that their is and was an element of class involved, If you where christian after this date you became civilised, pagans became labeled as barbarians. Currently there has been an overriding debate over the lack of spirituality and faith in contemporary society and this narrative I have just been describing sets an interesting flashback. People who have been rioting in major cities all over the globe and this conflict could be akin to something involving religion. I am one of the people that would go on record saying that currently this modern, materialist or capitalist dogma is something of a religion to the majority of todays population. And the conflict is about that, its about people without ownership over valuable objects and prospects. These young individuals are rallying against the class that have inherited wealth. The words Violent Religion are actually dashed and splattered throughout our history.