Thursday, December 1, 2011
Religion in a World of Science and Technology
Superpersonal Objects and Goals
A religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt about the significance of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation - Einstein.
A truly religious person will certainly respect the religious activities and rites of his/her friends and fellowmen or women, no matter what faith they espouse. It is usually the less religious or one who hold no proper religious faith that looks askance at or even look down upon people faithfully performing the prescriptions of their religious belief. As Einstein implied the "significance of those superpersonal objects and goals neither require nor are capable of rational foundation", meaning that you don't question them at all.
We don't question the faith that we hold nor should we question the faiths that others adopt. We respect their rights to perform all the activities and rites that their religion requires and we expect them to respect ours. The problem is those who don't hold on to any faith or who just pay lip service to a religion, do not know how to respect its requirements and prescriptions. In Islam especially among the Malays, that include those who consider themselves to be Muslims by birth and had no strong commitment to the religion. These people often flout the call to prayer five times in a day and night, would not refrain from taking food and drinks in the month of Ramadhan , would not go to the mosque for mass prayer and listen to the khutbah on Friday, would join others to ogle at females who strut around in a flimsy dress or takes pride in showing off their bossoms, instead of chiding them etc.
The adherents of a religion who do not uphold the requirements of the religion will of course have to contend with their own God in the hereafter (if at all they belief in that). But when they or those who don't subscribe to any religion, refuse to allow others to take time off to fulfill their religious obligations, that's a different story. They are showing disrespect and denying the rights of people to practice their own religion. This is apparent when, for example, meetings are held during the Muslim prayer time, functions begun in the evening before Muslims could perform the Maghrib prayer, and Muslims are not allowed to go off early on Friday to attend mass prayer at the mosque. Bosses who show such disrespect for the religion, are not only being irreligious but can be classified as anti-religion.
The lack of concern and respect for a religion and the activities or rites connected with it, is often reflected in a general apathy to the provision of facilities for fulfilling the requirement of the religion. The call to prayer in Islam is an essential part of the religion and yet there are people who oppose it, saying that it makes too much noise. What about the chanting and the singing in the church or temple? Printing the time schedule for Muslim prayers in the front page of the papers had been a long established practice. But that has been moved to the second or third page and in today's NST (2.12.11) , it's not even there anymore. The radio usually announced the time as we come close to it, but the TV, I am not sure. Must check it again. Such announcement is very important for the time schedule for Muslim prayers changes unlike the time schedule for Sunday Mass etc.
Even in this age of science and technology, religion still plays a major role in the life of most people.Why? It provides a set of values that never change while other values keep changing with the time. Religious truths are never challenged while all other truths are transient in nature and keep changing. What is truthe today may become an untruth tomorrow. Not in religion. Hence those who live by the good book are never derailed. Those who don't, even when they are highly educated and assume the status of geniuses, can ultimately flounder and become drowned in the quagmire of life's mysteries.