15 Februari 2015


Dear Anonymous,

First of all I'd like to apologize for the late reply. I've been busy (yeah, aren't we all). No, the truth is you posted some interesting thoughts and it would be unfair for me to give a reply without thinking it through. But thinking-it-through requires a lot of time and energy, and it was easy to procrastinate.

Now, where were we?

You wrote:
I do believe in universal truth, menurut saya, it also runs both ways, kita sudah punya intrinsic morals values yg kita cocokkan ke kitab suci, and we also take something from the holy scripture.
And I agree with you! When I quoted Reza Aslan (or anyone for that matter), it doesn't mean that I fully agree with what (s)he said. My take was actually on how people confusing religion and morality (and lack of religion with immorality), and it's not binary. On the other hand, I think what Azlan tried to say is that there are values that we observe, e.g. violence, that seemed to be embedded in Islam, but it's actually there are violent people who embrace Islam. Of course this can be a chicken-and-egg problem.

You also wrote:
I also believe that not all religions are the same, maybe common stories and values are similar, but basic concepts that it conveyed are different, what is the basic concept of holy scriptures? about God ofcourse..
In no part of my post I stated that I believe all religions are the same, so I take it this is not a specific response. I'd still like to answer though.

As a Muslim I actually believe that Allah revealed the same religion to Musa AS, Isa AS, and Muhammad SAW: the religion of tauhid. The laws are of course different, because they were contextualized within time and local values. But as the religions were codified, the narration of faith also changed—I borrow Reza Aslan's theory that religion is not a faith, but a narration of faith. Hence, saying two religions are the same is like saying The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings are the same book.

But I stepped out of my scope here, so this is what I believe based on my limiting knowledge. I'm ready to change in the face of a convincing argument.

Back to your comment, at the beginning you wrote:
to be honest, I don't really give a damn about how many kinds of atheist are there in the world, are there good guys or bad guys...*don'tcare*
And here is where things got interesting because apparently in the world we live in now, there are good atheists and bad atheists*, as well as there are good muslims and bad muslims. But here is partially where the problem lies: who are we to judge? So I don't want to live in a world like this, but I choose to care because it affects me. See, I am a selfish douchebag. So here's actually what happened.

I got annoyed by some atheists for their derogatory view of religion and people of religion (i.e.: me). On the other hand, their view can serve as a good mirror of things that went wrong with religions today (there are plenty). I won't go so far as preventing another #CharlieHebdo or #ChapelHillShooting but I do think that acknowledging this, instead of dismiss it or condemning atheists as immorals, might help a little bit in this time of mutual suspicion.

So I hope you find this reply clarifies some things in your comment.

Kind regards,

*this is satire

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