Monday, 6 October 2008

Online comment

The Pope had spoken out against modern culture pushing God out of people’s lives and making societies lose their religious identities. A reader had commented that this was no bad thing and showed that the Pope preferred the primitive, fear-ridden and oppressed culture of the past over the modern culture of liberty and free thinking.
The problem is, Brien, that you are falling into the trap of thinking that materialistic capitalist culture and religion are at odds with one another. They are not. They are two sides of the same counterfeit coin and support each other.
The religionists make us believe that it is necessary to march to their tune in order to reach God and spiritual fulfilment. The capitalists make us believe that it is necessary to march to their tune in order to reach wealth and sensual fulfilment. They are both deceivers and their tune is exactly the same; it is the drum beat of war, hatred and destruction.
If humanity is to be anything other than a cancer on the face of the earth then it must regain the art of individual thought and stop being the slaves of either the corporate machine or the rabble-rousing of Hizbut-Tahrir or American creationists.
The most insidious threat is in our classrooms where we have returned to the doctrine of Mr Gradgrind of Hard Times who treated pupils as pitchers to be filled to the brim with hard facts. Our students are tested to destruction with multiple choice (i.e., restricted choice) questions. They are asked, ‘Which is the correct answer, which is the absolute truth, a, b, c or d?’
Once upon a time we were given a statement or scenario and commanded: ‘Discuss.’
We have lost, or are in grave danger of losing, the art of discourse under the crushing weight of the absolute truth dictated by both national curricula and holy books. We only know how to regurgitate meaningless gobbledegook or to shout slogans.
The loss of thought is the loss of everything.
Rafiq Mahmood
Bogor, West Java