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Posts Tagged ‘Muhammad’

Answers are not born in a Vacuum

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on November 27, 2013

space

In his book “No God But God” Reza Aslan writes,

Admitting that Muhammad might have been influenced by someone like Zayd is, for some Muslims, tantamount to denying the divine inspiration of Muhammad’s message. But such beliefs are based on the common yet erroneous assumption that religions are born in some sort of cultural vacuum; they most certainly are not.

Vacuum. A lot of us seek mental isolation in our efforts to find answers. We feel that creating a vacuum around us insulates us from the worldly disturbances that plague our mind. In our pursuit of inner peace we look for opportunities to cut ourselves from the routine life we live in. I have come across more than a few people who have expressed their desire to retire into the forests or the mountains to discover themselves, people who seek answers to their problems in seclusion. But is that the way to go about it? I doubt it. Yes, a quiet and peaceful surrounding facilitates our mind in collating our thoughts, in putting together the pieces of the puzzle. But a vacuum can never answer the questions that arise in our spiritual and subconscious mind. Those answers are right here, right now in the real world that we live in. The answers lie in the mayhem that surrounds us.

Answers come from learning, not from a moment of inspiration. Learning is most effective when gained by observing outcomes of actions being performed, either by ourselves or by those around us. The quickest way to learn is being aware. And learning inspires answers. Since a vacuum is devoid of any action, it does not provide any learning and hence cannot yield answers, no matter how much the level of awareness.

Hence, do not seek answers where there are none. Seclusion is a place of quiet not of peace.

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Time to Rethink Freedom of Speech

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 12, 2012

With the advent of social media platforms, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas anymore. In this new world order, it is time to revisit the founding principles of nations. It is time to exhibit the courage and foresight required to change these tenets to cater to present day sensibilities.

Freedom of Speech is protected in the U.S by the First Amendment to the U.S constitution. However, this freedom is not enjoyed by speech that presents “imminent lawless action” and what may be termed as “hate speech.” Great, so the U.S Constitution lays out a very balance and judicial legislature to allow its citizens to speak their minds and suppress opinions that may lead to outrage among its people. But what happens when what Americans express, either in the form of opinion or art, transgresses the moral principles and beliefs of  people belonging to the more “unfortunate” rest of the world?

There are two very important opinion/speech defining parameters that must govern any discussion on this topic. Firstly, the Geographical reach an opinion can have and second, the Universality of the subject.

The lawlessness that broke out in Cairo and Benghazi last night are being attributed to anger over an American film that shows Prophet Muhammad in very bad light. The film has been made by Sam Bacile, an Israeli American real estate developer. The attacks unfortunately led to fatalities. Would it be wrong for the Libyan and Egyptian governments to ask for deportation of Sam to try him in their countries? Should not the U.S courts try Sam Bacile for inciting violence that led to the death of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens? This incident clearly illustrates that opinions in a connected world, like the one we live in, have absolutely no geographical boundaries. New laws need to be formulated to address these issues.

It is high time that the world decides to exempt Religion from Freedom of Speech. Religion is a private affair. While your religious beliefs should be kept to yourself, so should your opinions about other religions. Representation of religious opinions in any form, text, films, cartoons, paintings etc. should be globally prohibited. That, and only that, is true Secularism. No ban should be put on people trying to present the teachings of their religions as stated in their scriptures. But negative opinions on any religion must be banned. If a religious group is proving to be injurious to its followers, it is the Government’s responsibility to safeguard their interests.

No religious bashing has ever hurt any religion! It only hurts people. And in this case we lost Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. RIP.

Posted in News, Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

 
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