Sunday

On being a Moderate Conservative

Well.... that's who I am. Although this post might seem like I owe someone an explanation, I sure don't. I wanted to do it for myself. I wanted to define who I am for my own sanity, morals, and believes. I will not mention any particular bloggs or bloggers. Living in Syria for the first half of my life made me a conservative, and spending the second half in the USA added the moderate tag to it. I do believe and practice my religion, not as good as I should, but my believes are firm. God knows, I had my shares of mistakes and sins. When you live in a foreign country for more than 20 years, you can't help sometimes but try to adjust and avoid being left alone or left out. This is in now way a justification for my mistakes. It's just an acknowledgement that I had my fair share of many.

It's only logical for one to believe there's a higher power that controls everything. I look at the universe and how it's setup, and I'm constantly amazed at the perfection of our creator. How can anyone believe that this whole system started on it's own? The perfection of our bodies and minds, the perfection of our beautiful planet, and the amazingly vast skies and distant planets are enough clues. Walk to any beach, and stare far away at the endless sea, and think for a minute that despite all our technological advances we still haven't even discovered 1% of what goes on in the deep bottom of the oceans.

Where is the moderate part then? That part comes in play in accepting the fact that others think differently, dealing with those people in a normal and civilized way, and having a constructive relationship with them. Tolerance and acceptance are the keywords. God created us equal, and yet we all differ in many ways. I do accept the fact that many people have different religions and believes than mine. I respect all religions that make sense, specially the major three, Islam, Christianity, and Judism. These three main religions should always co-exist in peace and harmony. Unfortunately, this is never the case nowadays. Extremists from those three religions make life much more difficult for the majority of us, and they are destroying our world as we know it. Think of the world before September of 2001, and see how different it is now. Follow what goes on in the occupied palestinian land and how the palestinian children grow up looking at tanks destroying their houses, and machine guns killing their families, and imagine how they'll grow up and what mentality they'll have. All these acts are comitted against them by the only state ever founded on the basis of a religion. Acceptance also means respect. I think these religions should respect each other, specially the holidays and sacred days. When I was a kid I used to tag along with my father to his work sometimes. He had a Christian friend who worked in the same office. During Ramadan, that friend never ate or smoked in front of his muslim coworkers. This is the respect we need to give and expect. It's sad that some Syrian and Arab bloggers show no respect for this holy month and fill their blogs with offensive posts and statements. If you don't believe in some view, you can at least abstain from offending those who do. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.

My tolerence has no limits, yet my acceptance does not extend to everyone and everything. I do tolerate homosexuals. I have worked with, and still personally know some. I have no problem engaging in work or a friendly conversation or even an exchange of educated ideas and issues with them, but I will never accept their lifestyle as the norm. Nor will I accept it when they flaunt this lifestyle in my face in the purpose of trying to make our socities accept it in all its shapes and forms. How can we accept that two males or two females can start up up a normal family? Other than adopting from a product of a normal relationship, how can they ever have kids? Our human specis will seize to exist if this lifestyle was ever a norm or a majority. Even the most tolerating of parents are usually disappointed or shocked if they find out one of their kids is a homosexual. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy that president Clinton started concerning gays in the American military is the perfect solution for that institution. It just tells gays and lesbians that they will not be asked about their sexual orientation, and they shouldn't admit or flaunt their lifestyle among their fellow soldiers. I think this policy can apply to civil life too. Do not flaunt this in my face and expect me to take it for granted. I've seen Arab bloggers who loaded their bloggs with gay adjectives and even some disgusting pictures of semi-nude gay kissing and males holding dildos in their hands. Why talk about "Gay Pride"? Just be proud of who you are as a human being, and what good you do to your society and others. Ever heard of a straight person talking about "Straight Pride". It just makes no sense. Why throw your sexual orientation and preferences in the middle of every cause? Why wouldn't I just shut up and say nothing like I stated in my last paragraph? It's because those acts offend me and many others deeply, and I'm not being offensive or promoting any hatred campaign.

Saying all that, I will not hate. Hate is a very strong word that I don't use lightly.

Just live and let live.

That's all.

4 comments:

Yazan said...

Marhaba Ana Souri,

May I ask you whether your father also abstained from his breakfast when his Christian friend was fasting?

That's really a rhetorical question and I expect no answer. Whether yes or no, it would make little difference to me. Fasting, or whatever spiritual activity one chooses to do, should be between himself and God, and other people around him should not influence that, and should not even be counted in that equation. Now, when I don't eat in front of my fasting friends during Ramadan, it comes not out of respect for their fast (respect has nothing to do with this), but rather out of compassion with them. But you have no right to ask for that sort of compassion from everyone.

I admire your tolerance. But you seem to thrust it upon us from a place above, morally. As if it's a favor. It's not, and if that's the case then it makes little difference to me, whether you're "tolerant" of me or not. My tolerance and acceptance of ANY religion or ideology or idea (not just the ones that "make sense" to me, because to be honest, personally, the idea of God makes absolutely no sense to myself), is not by considering them non-existent and deleting them from my mind and expecting them to hide when I'm around. On the contrary it's out of belief that whatever you have in your mind is perfectly human and that I have no moral leverage over anyone when it comes to thought.

On a side note, the perfect harmony you speak of in the universe took 40 billion years of cosmic disasters to come by (disasters that are still happening everywhere else in the universe) and the functioning human body (which I think is no where near "perfection"), took 2 billion years to evolve into this state. And the fact that if it wasn't functioning you wouldn't be here questioning why it isn't functioning? So to bring that as proof of the existence of God, makes little sense to me.

You ask, Why throw your sexual orientation and preferences in the middle of every cause?, and I throw this question back at you sir, why do you throw your religion in the middle of every sentence? Would you accept a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to your religion?

Last but not least, my post was certainly not intended to offend anyone, and I am sorry that it did offend you, but you are always free to skip a blog.

Best,
Yazan

abufares said...

My friend
I want to call you so because there is already a bond between us despite the fact that we have our disagreements.
My intellectual evolution shared a common course with yours but didn't stop. I was never a conservative in the true meaning of the word. I was never excessively religious but I was a follower. I have broken free when I realized (for myself not for others) that religion(s) was too human to be divine. Even God in religion is too humanized. The fact that he needs humans to advocate HIS reality was the final blow to my mind and I decided that I needed to put an end to my own intellectual hypocrisy.
In my writing this is what I try to expose: My conflict with religion not with the idea of God. That, I prefer to keep for myself. Like Yazan, I don't perceive the universe around me or the human body and mind as perfect. I see the persistence and evolution of the universe and all consciousness in it as inevitable. Like water the cosmos are following the course of least resistance. An untold number of catastrophes took place over the infinity of time until "THIS" became what "IS" going on. It could end anytime and it might... but then it will start again.
I respect your points of view deeply. As a matter of fact I shared several of them until very recently. In a perfect world people would live in a place that is a combination of the best ideas human societies have invented over the centuries and continue to adapt new ones. Such a place does not and will never exist. We will never achieve perfection. Be that as it may, I think (presently) that the West with all its flaws have evolved further than we in the East have. I say that with a grain of salt but if I had to chose between what we have at the moment or what they have I will go with them. At least what is regulating individual behavior, rights and freedom is a law drawn by humans not of "divine" origin which means that we can change it if we don't like it without bringing the wrath of God upon us. But more importantly to be safe of the tyranny of those who consider themselves HIS men and HIS soldiers down here.
A GOD, any god, never needs them to defend him or to speak on his behalf.
Thank you for this interesting post.

أنا سوري said...

Yazan,
I want to thank you first for your visit. You're always welcome here. When I started typing this post, I didn't have your blog in mind. It was a cry against some other blogs that made fun of Ramadan and fasting and the whole thing. I think you took it personal thinking it was your post that caused my reaction. I will never ever thrust my tolerance or point of view on you or anyone else for that matter. I have no right to. I believe in what I talked about strongly. Maybe that's why I sounded a little arrogant or over-confident. We don't know how long it took the universe to evolve for sure, but we're always guessing, and many findings that scientists have made recently, there were clues for its existence in the Quoran. I'm not going into too much details regarding this subject. It'll take alot more than a post or a comment to even start with. My late father would've showed his friend the same respect I was talking about, and yes, it is respect, not just compassion. My father always did something for that friend come christmas time, a meal or a small gift.
The "don't ask, don't tell" policy could also be applied to religion, although I don't see it happening because of the public religious practices. Your believes and my religion should never affect the good way we treat each other.
Last, I'm not trying to throw my religion in every post. I quoted some in a couple just to make a point. It's also not the same as talking about your sexual preferences and practices.

أنا سوري said...

Abu Fares,
The funny thing is that I'm never offended by your views. I think it's because you really don't try to offend anyone. You express your views in away that everyone knows you still love and appreciate them no matter what. To be honest with you, I expected strong reactions to this post, specially the last part, but I had to do it for my own good. I enjoy disagreeing with you because we do it in a friendly and civilized way. That's what informed discussions are all about. I'm sure we'll have many more friendly arguments my friends. They'll keep us alive and thinking.