Before reading this post, I suggest my readers to enjoy this glass of sweet iced tea with me, freshly brewed from Wikimedia.
Because soon after we are going to talk about a hot, sensitive issue: religions.
I assume that my Indonesian readers are aware of the two persecutions against the religious minorities which happened recently in Indonesia in a very short time. Firstly, the Cikeusik massacre on Sunday, the 6th of February 2011, in Cikeusik, Banten, in which three Ahmadiyya members were brutally murdered. Secondly, the riot and church burning in Temanggung on Tuesday, the 8th of February 2011, following the trial of blasphemy against Islam done by Antonius Bawengan, allegedly a person from Manado and whose affiliation to the churches set into fire can be questioned. If you are a foreign reader, you can read this and this, respectively. As for the first case, again, the Ahmadiyya community in Indonesia is under severe persecution, not by the government, but by the mass at the grass-root level. We should take a note beforehand that the majority of Indonesian Muslims seem to consider Ahmadiyya a heretic sect, which deviates from the traditional Islamic teaching. Not that I can disagree with this though, as my shallow knowledge in this issue recognises some fundamental differences between the two. As for the latter, well Antonius looked for trouble anyway, and never in my life I can appreciate proselitisation like that, especially when you mock and insult other religions, but I am currently in a too emotional state after knowing that the mob also burned an innocent Catholic church. For your information, the Javanese Roman Catholics are relatively consistent with their, I mean, our moderate teachings: we are personally conservative, but we keep everything to ourselves. Anyway, let’s leave this issue alone, as I want to write about something else: infidelity and enlightenment.
To describe the premise of my argument, allow me to ask you this question: have you ever, at least once in your life, falsified the belief of your friends or families, although not necessarily telling them about it? Have you ever disagreed with your friends in terms of religious matter? If the answer is yes, you have, privately or publicly, admittedly or not, declared her/him to be an infidel. Yes, infidel. Because you think s/he doesn’t believe what you believe. I think everybody in this world will answer yes. However, it doesn’t matter. S/he will automatically and reciprocally consider you as an infidel. A heathen. From this illustration, we can deduce that we are somebody else’s infidels, the clause which becomes the title of this post. I have believed in this at least since last year, and I, for trolling purpose, sometimes wrote this on my Facebook wall (which was active at that time) before going away to church, to attend a mass.
To be more descriptive, let’s consider an example. Traditional Judaism teaches that the Messiah has not yet come. Christianity describes Jesus as the Messiah, a God. Islam argues that Jesus / Isa was “only” a prophet, and that Muhammad was the last prophet. This is only for the case of Abrahamic religions. Religions outside this group, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, probably don’t recognise them all in their respective texts as religious figures, although people like Mahatma Gandhi take inspirations from them (CMIIW). And, again, these are examples between different religions (or the lack thereof). For intra-religion differences, well I have ever read fellow Christians labelling Catholics like me infidels. See? It happens everywhere.
The question is now, how should we respond this? What should we do to them, the infidels of our believes?
Well, I, as a liberal, cannot care much about that. Yes, despite Mat 28:19 (you can search for it yourself if you’d like; it would not be too pleasant to the ears of non-Christians), as long as you, i.e. a person having different belief from me, are not involved too much in my belief, I am fine with you. Also, despite everything, I will not ever enforce my belief to you. But, it seems like this opinion is not shared by all people. Many people think that these deviants must repent, and they will be more than happy to enlighten these people into the “correct path”, i.e. their belief. It also doesn’t require you to be fundamentalist. For example, this news tells that the governor of Banten, Ratu Atut Chosiyah, immediately after the massacre, explicitly asked the Ahmadiyya community to go back to the true Islamic teaching [link] (in Indonesian). I don’t know, it just seems not sensitive to me. Others are even worse: Sobri Lubis, one figure in the Islamic Defender Front (Front Pembela Islam / FPI), explicitly made a death threat toward the Ahmadiyya people in one of his sermons. There is a video on Youtube about this, I don’t bother to search for it.
The next question is now, how far do you go from here? To what extent would you spread your belief into others? I have previously said that we are somebody else’s infidels, or in other words, everybody but you is infidel, so to which groups would you enforce your belief? Would you equalise, let’s say, Ahmadiyya to Lia Eden? But then again, you should’ve also considered all other major religions as deviations, and their adherents infidels. If you can communicate with the latter with respects, why can’t you treat the first two equally? For me, it is simple: if you respect me having a different belief from you, and don’t ask me to join your religion, I will respect you too. Otherwise, well, pardon me if I become cynical to you or simply stay away from you.
I would like to close this post as follows. We can only believe (or disbelieve), but we will never know what the truth is like, probably until we die. It is a big problem, as one truth can be perceived differently by different people. So it might be suggested for us not to focus on the differences, but instead on the similarities. This seems to be the approach of inter-religious talks. Also, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter what your religion (or the lack thereof) is. As long as you keep being peaceful, tolerant, and so on, it is good enough. Problem is, of course, what if you religious view tells you the opposite. I hope this is not the case.
I pray for all the victims. May the dead be accepted by God The Almighty, and may the hospitalised and traumatised victims gain proper encouragements and healing. I also hope that the persecutors, who participated in the massacre can eventually enter heaven (if it exists). In other words, I hope they have sincere repentances, or taubat nasuha as the Muslims say. I don’t want to curse these people, already a lot of people curse them (and support them, for that matter).
Thank you for reading. May God bless you, always.
Q: Dear God, when will we have a peace between people with different religious views?
God: *cries and walks away*