Friday, July 20, 2012

Atangana, Jihad, and Sexiness

I think many Buddhists may have got it right.
Peace of mind; solace for oneself first. True compassion for others can only follow after compassion for oneself. Legitimate compassion for others should not have any sort of self-serving or hedonistic motives behind it. (for example, Salvation).

I think this is where the Anglo-Catholics, the Evangelical, Fundamentalists, (Extreme) Calvinists, the Born-Agains, and a great many "right-of-moderate" Muslims have been led astray. (I suppose - ultimately - I am speaking of the belief in Total Depravity).

For those in Christianity who cling to a historical or a literal interpretation of Original Sin, true peace of mind and solace can be a near impossibility. For those who believe we are all born into sin and corruption and remain that way until proclaiming Christ as Lord and Saviour - but are still never-the-less unworthy - I cannot fathom how they could attain solace. (Yes, I know of some who "never-frown", but I believe this is little more than a mask of pretension and ritualized denial). I also firmly believe without solace, true compassion for others is difficult if not impossible.

I have long since come to the conclusion that a literal (or possibly historical) interpretation of Original Sin need to be completely abandoned.

I agree with Lao-Tzu and the author of Taekwon-Do's Jungshin Sooyang and Mencius that man is inherently good. That's not to say we are immune to greed, temptation, or corruption. I believe that is the greatest internal struggle we can combat. It is also why I very much like and have hope for one particular interpretation of Islam's doctrine of Jihad. That Jihad is not a Holy War against others, but a war battled and waged within oneself.

I think there is a simply profound wisdom in this.
"Wisdom (Ji). The ability to judge right from wrong, not especially in matters concerning the right and wrong of others but in matters concerning oneself." Excerpt from Jungshin Sooyang.
I think that many 'right-of-modeate' Muslims miss this wisdom as well. The recent incident of the Toronto street Cleric, Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, and his belief that Canadian Law should inhibit women's choice of dress - as those who dress too sexily or provocatively are the cause of crime and rape. As insulting as this is to women it is more insulting to men, that we should be some kind of uncontrollable (but perfectly unaccountable and excusable) animal.

I think Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana would do well to abide by Jungshin Sooyang's definition of wisdom and take a long hard look at himself. Maybe his own religion's doctrine of the internal Jihad would serve him well.

I know when I see a sexy woman dressed provocatively, I'll admit, my mind might wander, but one of the last thoughts is one of rape. If this is a demon that Atangana struggles with then maybe he should confine himself away from society until he can come to peace with his internal conflict.

This concept of an internal Jihad (strongly) suggests that within us is a good nature and that the struggling conflict is one fuelled by wisdom (our ability to judge right and wrong within ourselves).
I find this hopeful. It is an idea I am willing to synthesize.

As hard as I may be on Christianity at times, I find this same wisdom present in it as well, and that gives me more hope.

I think Rob Bell put it best in Velvet Elvis.
"Is the greatest truth about Adam and Eve and the fruit that it happened, or that it happens? This story, one of the first in the Bible, is true for us because it is our story. We have all taken the fruit. We have all crossed boundaries. We have all made decisions to do things our way and then looked back and said to ourselves, What was I thinking? The fruit looked so great to Adam and Eve for those brief moments, but the consequences were with them for the rest of their lives. Their story is our story. We see ourselves in them. The story is true for us because it happened and because it happens. It is an accurate description of how life is. The reason the stories in the Bible have resonated with so many people over the years is that they have seen themselves in these stories." Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, pg. 58-59

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