twitterfacebook

There is No Place for God in Religious Indoctrination #CharlieHebdo (As Featured in Huffington Post and Fair Observer)

There is No Place for God in Religious Indoctrination #CharlieHebdo (As Featured in Huffington Post and Fair Observer)
This article was also published in Huffington Post and in Fair Observer

There is an essential thing to be said about the relationship of man to God today in light of the horrifying events happening in our world. The defeat of development in the face of religious doctrines is fascinating to chart out. Take a look at Iraq and Afghanistan and watch the parties of God as they ax two of the most ancient and formerly well-advanced societies and bring them to the level of Sudan and Somalia, where other parties of God have been well on their way for a long time. Or look at Syria and Iraq and witness the fascinatingly morbid accession of another extreme party of God, ISIS, as they mass slaughter their way to establish a terror caliphate in the name of God. Then, shift your gaze to Iran where the divine awaiting of the Twelfth Imam fortifies their momentous accession of apocalyptic weapons all the while giving them the right to bolster their fellow parties of God in Lebanon and Syria whose purpose has shifted from freedom fighting to freedom hijacking and subjugation of all their fellow citizens, also, in the name of God.

Then look at Israel, formerly known as Palestine, where Jewish settlers in the name of their Messiah have been savagely stealing lands for decades and morbidly abusing the indigenous people because they believe that their right to the persecution of the Palestinians is God ordained as he has “chosen” them over others by giving them a biblical right to menace and bring on apocalypse in the name of God. These Israeli settlers are backed by no other than the American Evangelical fundamentalists, whose ancestors were also once Messianic settlers, also European, who also took the lands of the native tribal people in the name of God and redemption and left them sequestered if not dead in a land they inhabited for centuries; those same Christian fundamentalists believe that supporting Israel is in favor of God, the same God who shames homosexuality, criminalizes scientific development, forbids the teaching of science in schools and despises other races. As for those who wish to fight Israel, they obviously go through God as well. Indeed, militant Islamic parties take faith in knowing that God works through violence, killing, and suicide bombing, processes only worthy of medieval culture where ignorance and torture were the currencies of the day, and where people lived, persecuted and savagely shamed each other in the name of God as there was no other way to validate their miserable, wretched lives. As for the Muslim fundamentalists who were able to get out of their countries of origin, those who now inhabit the cities of London, Oslo, Paris and DC, they derive their self-importance from hating on the West and cannot wait to take “offense” at something Westerners do against their Islam and their God, as if their very livelihood isn’t the biggest offense to Islam and God.

As for my country Lebanon, where the currency is religious politics and every political party has the signature of God stamped on their ludicrous manifesto, where the presidency has been customarily ordained to the petrified, egotistic Maronite creed, the weaponry ordained to the vengeful, self-absorbed Shiite creed, and the vapid well of insipidity ordained to the anaemic Sunni creed. Here, you cannot marry your loved one if you belong to different religions, you cannot inherit your spouse if you belong to different religions, and if that is not enough harassment in one’s lifetime, they will even persecute you after death as you cannot even be buried next to your spouse if you belong to different religions, all in the name of God.

As for those who decree that “these terrorists are not “real Muslims” or “real Jews” or “real Christians”… They all misinterpret religion”, to you I respond, that although perhaps more commendable, your version of what “real religion” should be is just another opinion, not more nor less correct than anyone else’s interpretation. Just because you think it to be right, it does not make it right, neither for you, nor for them; your opinion just adds another shade to religion, yours just happens to be less savage. Whether “right” or “wrong” is simply arrogant to disclaim. There is no such thing as a “real” interpretation of a pre-medieval religion, the only “real” thing about indoctrination is how beastly it is, no matter how soft is your version. Why? Because in indoctrination, there is an obligatory, inherent alienation of other human beings, an inherent racism of “us” and “them” and that alone should be a red flag showing you how disturbingly unfit ANY doctrine is for the well-being of the world.

History and the wide discourse of the majority have unequivocally decided what the stamp of religious indoctrination is, and it is the footprint of a beast, the footprint of self-absorbed, alienating ignorance. People are dumb and vain. People are so vain that they believe in the irrefutability of their opinion. Look at the state of politics in every country and how people offensively deride the dignity of others for simply holding a different opinion from theirs. If that’s true for politics, if that’s even true for family dinners, what do you make of it when it comes to God-ordained religions? There is a danger to indoctrination everywhere, because indoctrinations are forcibly alienating, and a system that inherently alienates others is by default a failed system. Religion is a failed system. A power apparatus created around racist ideas to control societies. That is religion. It is a political system of power. It is man’s selfish story of faith, but it is not faith. Religion cannot be faith. If this world learns to understand the difference between religion and faith, we would witness the beginning of an unprecedented age of Enlightenment. Religion and faith are mutually exclusive. Religion is indoctrinated politics. Faith is inherently apolitical. Religion is a human brand, a human system. Faith can have no brand, no label, no system, no technique. It is immaterial, transcendental and cannot relate to earthly commodities, while religion is obligatorily based in earthly commodities, and that is why it is so corrupt. Religion thrives on power and subjugation, whereas faith thrives on inner-empowerment and emancipation. Religion is the darkness. Faith is the light. Religion is Godless. Faith is God.

I denounce the indoctrination of religion as man made hell on earth. I condemn the top-down organization of any belief, be it divine or political, for it is nothing more than the very organization of racism and bigotry hidden behind the ecstatic fantasy that there is an invented, fear-mongering God who is corrupt enough to prefer “your type of people” over others just because you follow one book over another; a God who people believe is vapid enough to want to meddle in your uninspiring affairs, judge your tedious thoughts, or worse, worry about your sexual behavior, the faith of your spouse, or whether you force yourself to go once a week to some brick building with an awkward semiotic symbol to talk to yourself. The almighty God, not the invented God such as the one who apparently was in need of “revenge” against a Parisian satirical publication, does not and cannot ever thrive in any earthly religion; if it has a label, it has no God. For if you believe that God is good, if you believe that God is love, if you believe that God is liberty, then you believe that God cannot possibly abide by a manmade label, especially that of a judging dogma. There is no place for God in a religion because every religion comes down to “us” and “them” and I cannot believe that an almighty God, if he exists, can ever take sides between his own people. Religion is a failed system that rejects the ethereal because religion is naturally divisive and rejecting of “the others.” It is savagery, and God does not thrive in savagery for God can only thrive in loving faith.

So as long as we cling onto our indoctrinated identities, this world will be racked with the most insufferable pain for these identities will forever demarcate our differences when what we need most is to find our common aspirations. And mark my words, common aspirations will never be found in a doctrine, but they will be found in our humanness because humanness has no stamp, and that alone is divine.

#CharlieHebdo

Written by Sara El-Yafi

67 Comments

  1. Sarah O'Neill · January 8, 2015

    Love this so much!

  2. Malek Fares · January 8, 2015

    Amazing, Sara. Amazing.

  3. Pia Nehme · January 8, 2015

    Very well said Sarah! thank you

  4. Adam Farrah · January 8, 2015

    You are, by far, the most interesting, the most intelligent, and most impressive person I read. I literally wait for your posts to read your opinion. Thank you for another perfect article and illustration.

  5. Malika Mansour · January 8, 2015

    Enlightening ! “Religion is darkness,faith is light, religion is godless, faith is god ” ! Loved it! ! So true

  6. أبو الحسنات صدیق · January 8, 2015

    Sara El-Yafi Emailed you, btw

  7. Nicholas Haddad · January 8, 2015

    What a compelling, powerful piece Sara El-Yafi. Remarkable. Sharing it.

  8. Sam Wahab · January 8, 2015

    Another brilliant piece of work. It’s like reading the truth. Bravo Sara. I think you may have done the impossible and outdid yourself. Again.

  9. Daniel K Boufarhat · January 8, 2015

    Extremely good conveyance mate! Chapeau

  10. Fida Krayem · January 8, 2015

    I agree with everyone here, Sara. And yes “You are, by far, the most interesting, the most intelligent, and most impressive person I read. I literally wait for your posts to read your opinion. Thank you for another perfect article and illustration.” #truth

  11. Daniel K · January 8, 2015

    A must read to all…I thrive on criticising people’s posts and voiced opinions when it comes to religion. But this nailed it ‪#‎Bow‬ Sara El-Yafi

  12. Abed Salam · January 8, 2015

    Beautifully expressed!

  13. Sarah O · January 8, 2015

    A must read by Sara El-Yafi about the tragic events that happen in France. By far one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.

  14. Sam Wahab · January 8, 2015

    “Religion is the darkness. Faith is the light. Religion is Godless. Faith is God.”
    If you’re going to read something about the tragic events that happen in Paris then you should read this brilliant piece by the ever so eloquent Sara El-Yafi. By far one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. ‪#‎CharlieHebdo‬

  15. Olivier Ceberio · January 8, 2015

    I particularly liked: “As for those who decree that “these terrorists are not “real Muslims” or “real Jews” or “real Christians”… They all misinterpret religion”, to you I respond, that although perhaps more commendable, your version of what “real religion” should be is just another opinion, not more nor less correct than anyone else’s interpretation. Just because you think it right, it does not make it right, not for you, nor form them; it just adds another shade to religion, yours just happens to be less savage. Whether “right” or “wrong” is simply arrogant to disclaim. There is no such thing as a “real” interpretation of a pre-medieval religion, the only “real” thing about indoctrination is how beastly it is, no matter how soft is your version. Why? Because in indoctrination, there is an obligatory, inherent alienation of other human beings, an inherent racism of “us” and “them” and that alone should be a red flag showing you how disturbingly unfit ANY doctrine is for the well-being of the world.”

  16. Tristan Hudson · January 8, 2015

    This is by far one of the best things I have read in a very long time.

  17. Wassef Ezzedine · January 8, 2015

    Yeslam temmik !

  18. Hind Kaddoura · January 8, 2015

    Love it!

  19. Wassef Ezzedine · January 8, 2015

    “Religion is a human brand” – I also believe that religions were created by great statesmen, also called prophets, to reign in otherwise savage societies, each in his own time. Later and ever since, such religions were recuperated by power-thirsty men to rule over masses.

  20. Jaime Amieva Kobeh · January 8, 2015

    I was agreeing with most of your article until “faith is light”. In my opinion a belief that is not based on proof, has not much of enlightning. Humanity has to stop having beliefs.

  21. Nadim Haddad · January 8, 2015

    You tell’em girl!!!

  22. Haytham Kaafarani · January 8, 2015

    Very well said Sara. Very well said.

  23. Sara Buchamseddeen · January 8, 2015

    Yes, well said.

  24. Laila Matarwe · January 8, 2015

    Touche! Very thought provoking words…no matter what ‘religion’ you believe or which God you believe in, or even if you don’t believe…

  25. R.C.T · January 8, 2015

    agree 100%

  26. Toufic · January 8, 2015

    ‘religion is a failed system’….perfect. how right she is.

  27. Danny Bedford · January 8, 2015

    your article just blew me away. It put a lump in my throat and helped me rationalise the absurdity of manmade religion. #WeAreOne

  28. Danny Bedford · January 8, 2015

    thanks for helping me understand the chaos that religious agendas have on our beautiful world. Yet, I know love will conquer all.

  29. Russell Patient · January 8, 2015

    If you aren’t already following @SaraYafi then please do so. Without doubt, she is one of the most gifted & thought-provoking writers around

  30. Olivia Antunes · January 8, 2015

    Wow! Great words!

  31. J. N. · January 8, 2015

    What if…… you are the new Messiah? You really are amazing, Sara.

  32. Harry Albright · January 8, 2015

    I look forward to your articles Sara El-Yafi. And that really says a lot. Because I hardly look forward to anything these days. Thank you.

  33. Elliot Daniel Rivera · January 8, 2015

    Well said gorgeous woman !

  34. Jack · January 8, 2015

    Very well said .. it’s the simple truth about different parties and countries supporting terrorism in the name of religion

  35. Darrell Lee Cole · January 8, 2015

    Very excellent article. I am for what you said 110%. Although I belong to an organized religion, I am tolerant of other belief systems. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about religion. I prefer what you said that religion and faith aren’t the same. Lord help me to have faith in Him and not a creed.

  36. Rex Pabene · January 8, 2015

    Awesome article, simply awesome!

  37. Celine Aswad · January 9, 2015

    Wow just wow your piece moved me beyond words. I salute your passion, honesty and freedom to express.

  38. Ziad · January 9, 2015

    Always a pleasure reading your articles, Sara. very well said

  39. Adnan Ghammache · January 9, 2015

    CHOU BHEBBIK!!!!! <3

  40. Karim Hamade · January 9, 2015

    Very well written…Amazing article Sara El-Yafi

  41. Ste Pha Nie · January 9, 2015

    totally agree! Awiyeh Sara el Yafi!

  42. Karim S-Mahan · January 9, 2015

    u’re awesome

  43. Marco Seminaroti · January 10, 2015

    God, such a great idea!If didn’t exist someone should invent it. And that’s exactly what we did.

  44. Gail Antabi · January 10, 2015

    I’m going to copy this and send it to my family so enlighting

  45. Khaled El Abed · January 10, 2015

    God bless you Sara .

  46. Nada Hamzeh · January 10, 2015

    Very well said sara

  47. Nada Hamzeh · January 10, 2015

    Is there any chance this has been translated to Arabic ?

  48. Pia · January 10, 2015

    Thank you Sara El-Yafi for this masterpiece.

  49. Kim Groark · January 10, 2015

    I love this article. I especially love, “Because in indoctrination, there is an obligatory, inherent alienation of other human beings, an inherent racism of “us” and “them” and that alone should be a red flag showing you how disturbingly unfit ANY doctrine is for the well-being of the world.”

  50. Jan Willem · January 10, 2015

    While I feel the same disgust regarding the events: this, too is religion. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/100-religious-groups…

  51. Alonso Alvarez Romo · January 10, 2015

    I wanted to congratulate you on your piece but i couldn’t but to feel that there were something wrong in it , i want to start by saying that a feel nauseated by the events in France , but blaming religion on every violent act that happens is not right ( for the record im agnostic ).
    Humans are and always will be different from one another , it is part of us and i think is a good thing , our difference can be in our physic , we can be tall or short , fat or slim or we can be white or black , our difference can be in our aspirations , we may want to be rich or famous , we may want to be hippies or intellectuals. We may like sports or arts , book or cars , etc.
    Difference can be in our cultures or beliefs ,we can call god Allah , Yahveh or Buddha , and all of this , religion and ideologies in my opinion , enriches our human culture.
    Sadly we have been killing each other since before we called ourselves humans , and history shows us that any excuse can be use to exacerbate hatred and greed and get violence going, ( hutus and tutsis are a sad example ) and we live in a system that creates the worst difference of all , the material one , we are divided between the haves and have-nots.
    Denouncing religion or ideologies as something intrinsically bad goes to one of core issues , INTOLERANCE , altho i know your not like that, but i think there is another culprit.
    POVERTY and DESPERATION , intolerance is a terrible thing but even if you educate every person in the world it will always be there , sadly i think its part of us, but poverty and the desperation that comes with it can be fought.
    Let me explain , the people that join terrorist groups or drug cartels have one thing in common , they have nothing , they are desperately trying to find a way to survive in a world that keeps denying it to them, and then there you have a drug lord that promises riches or at least a full stomach for as long as you can survive or i religious fanatic that gives you the full stomach and promises all the things you may want in paradise , and having nothing to lose and a lot of hatred accumulated against the people you think are to blame or to the world itself, it all may sound really good.
    Now im not talking about communism as its never going to work , but if everyone could have enough , and i mean enough so you don’t want to loose it over some stupid ideology , maybe we would only see intolerance on tweeter.
    And we could treat those fanatics and criminals left as what they are, sociopaths or/and cheap politicians.
    Anyway i wanted to put my 2 cents.

    • Sirine Ghandour Jawhari · January 10, 2015

      Alonso from what I have read, you have British Jihadis, as an example, who’ve gone over to the Middle East to fight who cannot be classified as poor or deprived. Somehow they had become radicalised (through their local mosque or online, eg) not as a result of their socioeconomic conditions but rather, I would venture, as a result of seeing the results of the West’s (primarily the U.S., UK and France?) misguided foreign policies in the region. I would suggest that the presence of Western military bases, support for undemocratic regimes, drone bombings, various interventions, is what is in fact fuelling terrorism and not Islam per se.

      • Alonso Alvarez Romo · January 10, 2015

        I thought of that too , as for the british jihadist , being in extreme proverty is not the only way to feel marginalized or maybe they are just sociopaths as for the underdemocratic regimes your right that does fuel the fire , but what i mean that some one with a reasonably confortable life doesnot risk losing it unless theres other mental health issues . But there you can have a teenager killing his classmate and you dont blame it on religion .

    • Sara El-Yafi · January 12, 2015

      Alonso: Thanks for your comment. I am no proponent of ideas such as “religion has been the cause of all major wars in history”; that is a massive oversimplification and a lazy overlook of history, and those of us with just a little historical knowledge know that man’s inherent violent nature has surfaced way before organized religion, and that organized religion is one of, and not the only, channel for organized crime. But what I am alluding to is the danger of indoctrination, which inherently organizes differences as part of “us” versus “them”. That is true for religion, that is true for political parties, that is true for any social group that designates itself with a label in order to differentiate itself from other labels. What I am arguing against is doing that with religions. It is as dangerous as dangerous can get because religions vindicate themselves with the word of God and that shuts man down and if badly led, can take man to the limits of his own atrocities because this vindication becomes supreme; and that is the case of all the examples I have enumerated. I started the article simply enumerating a few modern examples (I don’t even want to go back in time, we would be overwhelmed with more similar data) to showcase this type of destructive vindication. The second type of destructive vindication would be the war of the state, but it’s nowhere as dangerous because it is fallible; it is evidently manmade and people have no problem turning against it when things get out of hand (look at the world), whereas religion is not considered fallible because people have associated it with God and turning against an oppressive religion is virtually impossible. That is the danger I am pointing to. So I am merely saying to people that turning against the dogmas of religions is not turning against God because God, whom people cherish and adore, does not and can not ever live in the confines of any religion. So let’s all start making the difference between religion and faith.

  52. Gebran Chahine · January 10, 2015

    “Common aspirations will never be found in a doctrine, but they will be found in our humanness because humanness has no stamp, and that alone is divine”

  53. Ghada El Yafi · January 10, 2015

    Right, right, right!
    Believers cannot admit different messages of the same God.
    Believing is a way of life, a behavior in order to do what is right to make life easier with the others.

  54. Ghada El Yafi · January 10, 2015

    Anyone who likes this piece, should share it. One must help opening eyes instead of remaining blocked in the hard shell of mind jail!

  55. Sarah Zahra · January 10, 2015

    In light (or in the darkness) of the recent events Sara El-Yafi always find her way with words in this compelling post.

  56. Hind Kaddoura · January 10, 2015

    Un article qui vaut la peine d’être lu.

  57. Ibrahim Tabet · January 11, 2015

    Brillant ! Je suis entièrement d'accord. C'est le point de vue que je défens (dans la langue de Molière) On est en plein " choc des civilisations" ou plutôt des religions. que Gilles Kepel a décris comme étant : la revanche de Dieu .

  58. Virgile · January 11, 2015

    This is a angry text that is unfortunately detached from reality. Religion is an intrinsic part of the the human being and cannot be excluded because it was abused by men and women for their own glory. Most people are not able to believe in an abstract God. They need symbols and all religions have used symbols to allow an easier connection between people and God. The Bible, the Koran, the cross, prayer, Hajj etc… are all symbols that are supposed to help common people to connect to God. Many of these symbols that are supposed to bring people to a higher spiritual level world unfortunately can be interpreted destructively as we have seeing in Christianity and now mostly in Islam.
    Therefore the key to a progressive religion lies in the correct interpretation of the symbols and the prevention of they been abused. If interpretation is left to people who just want to manipulate others to achieve personal or clan power then excesses and abuses will happen. The interpretation must be given exclusively to people devoid of personal ambitions and immune to the poison of power.
    In view of the weakness of human kind in front of devilish temptations, such individuals are extremely difficult to find. Moreover some religious sects rejects any interpretation of the symbols, thus leaving each individuals having its own and at the mercy of a wrong endoctrination that end up by violent acts. This drifting iundermines the basis of the religion. That is what Islam is suffering now.
    Christianity went through such stages and for centuries its symbols were used for personal glory and greed with the destruction and violence we know. After this dark period and thanks to some religious figures with high spiritual qualities it is now on the path of re-interpreting the original symbols of Christianity that is a religion of love and humility
    As for Islam, recently there has been voices calling for reform in the Sunni Islam. That is what is needed. Shia Islam has engaged in such reform and the intervention of Ayatollah Khomeini, a highly spiritual and powerful leader gave the right impetus to Shia Islam. Shia Islam is united and does not suffer of major internal dissensions. However imperfect and highly susceptible to drift and abuses, it has find some kind of united path that needs to be constantly scrutinized and refined. As such it is progressive religion
    Since the demise of Arabism, Sunni Islam, lacking universally respected and spiritual leaders, has fallen into in the hands of dubious men who have their own interpretations of the tenets of the religion and have abused the religion too often to gain power for them and their followers. Sunnis are in a state of confusion, feeling that their religion has drifted away from its essence and that something has to be done to find the proper path but they do not know where to start and what to do.
    It is a time for Sunnis who believe in the message of love and tolerance to openly denounce the abuses and work together to designate a chosen group of spiritual men and women that would ensure the proper interpretation of Islam. Be Dar al Fatwa in Lebanon or Al Azhar in Egypt, they must be given this important role. Islam without some kind of ‘Sunni supreme court’ is bound to drift in all directions
    After 50 years of the Soviet Union imposed atheism as the official religion, Russia orthodox church is still alive and thriving. Imagining that religion can be simply ignored and discarded is an illusion. Religion is a powerful energy that can be used for progress if it properly channeled through education and under spiritual models and leadership
    Religions will never disappear. What is needed is to find all means possible to prevent them from being used destructively against each other so they rather serve the improvement of humanity.
    As for Lebanon, where many sects and religion coexists, don’t we need a ” High Religious Council” regrouping religious men and women elected by their community to work together to guide the people and the government?

  59. Joanna · January 12, 2015

    Thank you, for another great article! I enjoyed reading it. Very enlightening…

  60. Larry Kay · January 12, 2015

    You have an extremely bright and beautiful mind. I hope your article gets picked up everywhere, Sara.

  61. Lee Patsch · January 12, 2015

    Wow great article you wrote

  62. Clark Labeouf · January 12, 2015

    wow that’s the best thing I’ve ever seen on huffpo

  63. Salwa hadati · January 18, 2015

    I admire the way you writing and philosophi !!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: