We are walking advertisements of our religion PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 November 2014 14:18



Over the week-end I came across reading materials, on-line and in a newspaper,  that have made me think about religions and followers of religions. I have come to this conclusion: the worst advertisers of a religion are those who follow that religion. I say this with the realization that media may somehow have something to do with this, since media finds it more worthwhile, for one reason or another,  to underscore what is negative rather than the other way around.

The first item I read was in a Nov 1 issue of a newspaper where a Filipino Monsignor was quoted as saying that practicing zen meditation was inviting the devil to enter our bodies that can lead to demonic possession. Really now. I am not a zen practioner  but I have read that  many well-known personalities are. A good example is the Dalai Lama. Surely one cannot think of him as an ally of the devil. I also know personally some members of the Catholic religious who meditate as their form of praying. Are we to understand that they too are so imprudent as to invite the devil to enter their bodies?

Another item was that of an on-line news item that the ISIS had lined up  50 people and then killed them all.  This is not  the first time that an item like this came up about the ISIS. When one thinks that the ISIS claims to be promoting a “purer” type of  Islam  and considers establishing a ‘caliphate” the way to go about it, one wonders how many people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are given the wrong notion of what Islam teaches.  I have mentioned in a previous piece  that at one time I was corrected by one young university student when I said “ moderate Islam and extremist Islam.”  The young student said there is no such thing, there is only one Islam. I appreciated the correction and since then I have become more convinced that we who are the followers of a religion, any religion, create the difficulties. Of course, some religions have more internal conflicts to work out than some others.

An item also caught my eye about what happened in Malaysia recently. In Islam dogs are considered unclean and Muslims are not to touch them or keep them as pets.  It seems though that even among Muslims this is not understood  universally in the same way. A group in Malaysia has espoused kindness to animals and in a recent park activity the organizers of the activity-  all Muslims, I think – encouraged the crowd to touch and pet the dogs there. Naturally this angered a number of Muslims and the organizer of the activity, a Muslim himself, received a number of death threats. Many other Muslims supported the organizer and the incident has become a cause celebre  in the country.

I think it is good for us to remember that we are never “just me”. Our actions often reflect to others, correctly or not, our family, our community, our school or our religion.