- Kuwait Times Extra
It has been a week since the end of Ramadan, and the very gluttonous festivity of Eid. Yet it seems like yesterday that we were all living under the impression of a pious time. No sooner the devils – religious belief that demons are locked up during the month of Ramadan – released, people seem to be going back to their old ways: good and bad! More importantly, I believe that now is a time for reflection on the events that are unraveling.
August has been a month of bloodshed in Syria; blood that is spilling out over to beloved Lebanon, making the matter worse, families are now on hostage hunts. A fellow national leader and his wife are believed to be in captivity as we speak as leverage for a conflict that seems to be prolonging, with it, an increase in hostility between various religious sects. The dangers if not clear, ought to be. When religion gets into a conflict as per history, it tends to last for decades if not centuries!
Closer to home, in Kuwait a new wave of political mongering is about to begin, now that Ramadan is over, it is time to focus on more ‘temporal’ matters. Without clearly knowing whether we have a Parliament, and a government unable to hastily take decisions, the political vacuum is keen to the current state of affairs – limbo. Will we pass this phase and move on to the next one? Or, will the abyss of chaos linger on for many more lunar months making us journalists busy narrating and commenting on the events to fore come?
Either way, the trend these days seems to be of secular nature, an interesting article published on Aug 19, 2012, in The National – a UAE based English newspaper titled ‘Are Gulf youths increasingly drawn to Atheism?’ It is a very interesting question to answer; one that I have attempted to think about from a rational point of view. Are people drawn to atheism out of hatred of religion in an act of rebellion, or are they simply no longer credulous?
If one is to answer the question with the first proposition in mind, it would put the increasing number of supposedly atheist ‘Gulfies’ in a basket of rebellion, not too dissimilar from teenagers who have mood swings. Alternatively, and more dangerous to the religious establishment in the region would be the increasing number of educated young adults that for the first time are able to extensively travel in mass; are tech savvy, and are able to communicated their ideas with peers all over the world.
The later, would be individuals who veer towards Atheism and Agnosticism not out of a desire to rebel, but according to several accounts, due to an awakening that has brought about many question, with little coherent answers to fill their intellectual void with!
Regardless, it leads me to a fascinating question that has lingered; the notion of the ‘Euthyphro dilemma’ whereby Socrates asks the following question: “Is the pious loved by God because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by God?”
What the question is attempting to answer is whether as humans we ought to be good because it is the highest norm that we human should aspire to, or it is okay to act good waiting for a reward that would be delivered to us should we forgo our predisposition to do evil. In a sense, does God reward our deepest intention when they are pure, or is it our actions that are judged regardless of our inner purity?
By Fouad Al-Obaid
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