Islam – is it a religion of peace or of violence? This is a question that torments the entire human society. But just because it is correlated with over-exaggerated discussions and debates, does not mean that the question itself is a genuine one. Let me put it this way – Islam is a religion of course, but neither of peace nor of violence. It is a religion like any other religion, that provides a psychological bedrock of baseline cultural identity and individuality to its people. But it is the actions of these people that should be accounted for to define whether the religion “Islam” is a religion of peace or of violence, instead of judging it based on the scripture Quran. Books are no measure for judgement in the society of thinking humanity. It is the actions of the people that counts, nothing else.
Here you must remember, the so-called Jihadis who are in reality, mentally unstable individuals run by Quranic fundamentalists, do not represent the whole Muslim population of the world. Muslims are just as peace-loving as the Christians, Hindus, Jews or Buddhists. Terrorism has nothing to do with religion, Islam or otherwise. Terrorism is born of fundamentalism not of religion.
Peace and Violence are both biological traits of humans as well as the entire animal kingdom. And since humans are the only species capable of creating literatures, it should not be surprising that these literatures would have the same blend of peace and violence, or simply, good and evil, that the human character possesses. And these literatures include all the scriptures in the world. As such, they are not immune to the innate evil of the human psyche. In fact, since these scriptures are the product of a time when ignorance and barbarianism ran rampant in the human society, it is more reason, for evil traits to appear on their pages alongside the goodness that they teach.
Like all human literatures the Islamic literature, the Quran and the Hadith, were also human creation. No Allah or God had anything to with them. They arose from the minds of the humans. The Quranic messages were born from the mind of supposedly the man named Mohammed in a state of transcendence. This state of mind is an extraordinary one, with such unique elements that often leave the smartest individuals baffled. And Mohammed was no smart man, like say, Albert Einstein or James Watson. He was an ordinary man of his time, who attained the state of transcendence during his daily prayers in a mountain cave. And in that state of transcendence his mind gave rise to all the revelations, both good and bad, that later collectively became known as the Holy Quran. Hence, it is the reader who must distinguish the good from the bad, if he or she is to remain a genuine part of the civilized society.
Let me bring up an excerpt from my book “The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance” to shed further light on this matter.
“Think of the bloodshed there has been in consequence of some of the Quranic doctrines that literally command to kill the infidels if they do not become Muslims! Think of the textual creeds that teach, a man who does not believe all the teachings of Quran should be killed and it is a mercy to kill him! The one ultimate rule of the Quranic fundamentalists is “there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet”. Everything beyond that not only is bad, but must be destroyed forthwith. At moment’s notice, every man or woman, who does not exactly believe in that, must be killed. Everything that does not belong to this set of ideals must be killed.”
And because of such barbarian actions of the Quranic fundamentalists, many atheists, including my dear friends and colleagues Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris quite naively want to turn every single religious person on earth into an atheist, which by the way, is a great and progressive notion, but I am afraid, it biologically, or to be more specific neurologically, is an impractical idea. Religion itself is a neurological phenomenon which evolved in the human mind to act as an aid in daily life. Which means, Mother Nature selected it as a neuropsychological feature for the humans in the path of survival. Hence, no individual has the power to take such natural trait away from the human mind, unless Natural Selection gives consent. Therefore, it is more practical to make people transform their mindset about religion and religiousness and walk in the path of creed-less religious harmony, than to convert the entire religious population on earth into atheists.
All we need to do, is to turn human actions into a measure of judgement for religions, instead of some old books. Once we successfully do this, eventually we will be able to build a world where the human self shall be the Alpha and the Omega of the society, not a God self of some old books. In fact, the God self depicted in those books, was nothing but the transcendental manifestation of the human self. Which means, the God of humanity is, in actuality, human, or to be more accurate, man himself. Men in different times went into transcendence and quite unintentionally, due to neurological reasons (refer to “Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality”), mistook the messages rising from their own mind as revelations coming from an external divine realm. Thus, all revelations of all scriptures are the creations of the human mind, not of God.
Now tell me, do you still hail those texts as irrefutable? Do you still think that you are ought to follow every single word of those scriptures with a blind eye? Don’t you think that it is the existential responsibility of a civilized human being to measure those texts, as they have such a blinding impact upon the society, with your own rational mind?
Progress of the human society is predicated upon the proper functioning of a key element of the human mind, that is reasoning. Without this mental element we would no longer be a civilized species. And when reasoning runs pure in the heart of the humans, no book has the power to compel them to fight among each other in the name of religion or paradise. Remember, reasoning is the cure for superstitions and bigotry. Once reasoning reigns, love and acceptance become the religion, and hatred and dogmatism become a matter of ancient history.
(This Article was originally published on Goodreads.)
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience
Abhijit Naskar, 2017, The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance