Ed. note some links provided are in Indonesian language
Looking back in my life, I was ever a person who, in many occasions, despised people who acted high-and-mighty in their belief. I am talking about religion-fundamentalism and such in this case, should you wonder what this post is all about.
Back then, I wouldn’t stay at ease when people tended to, at the lowest degree, differed treatment basing on religion preference. Being Muslim by birth, it was easier for me to find hole and criticize the circumstance I was in. I criticized the idea of muslims being given two weeks holiday for Idul Fitri in Indonesia, while at the other hand we only had one single day allocated for Christmas and Nyepi. I bashed the (said-to-be) conservatism that muslims shouldn’t send any greetings as other religions hold their holy celebrations — while, at the same time, everybody greeted us for Eid Mubarak, and so on.
Hearing about the 2002 Bali Bombings only made it worse; and studying the history of Crusades dismayed me beyond what I would have imagined before then. In fact, I dissented quite many things as well — though many of them were directed to the religion’s followers’ attitude, rather than to the fundamental faith about God himself.
At this point you may think that I was against my religion and tend to others’, no? Mind you, perhaps, but that’s not what happened. 😉
In fact, I didn’t like the other religions’ followers’ attitude as well. Of course it would be unfair to generalize, but I’ll go with examples here. Anybody knows coercive missionary action in Indonesia? Israel using Zion sentiment to invade Palestinians’ land? Anybody likes Pat Robertson? And so on, and so on.
Religions, as I looked at it back then, were all miserable. Say it Muslim world, Christendom, Judaism, or else. People hate, people kills, and became stupid altogether.
Who forged data for 6000-year creationisms, huh? Christian fundies. Who spread hoaxes concerning evolution? Harun Yahya, a muslim zealot. Who condemned the scientists accepting Heliocentrism? BOTH. Either it is Syaikh or Pope, things are just the same. 😎
For some times, I used to be like that. Seeing the followers’ attitude and quality, I started to lower my expectation towards religion in general. Still, I didn’t let go of my faith — in fact, I just lessen my tendency to follow its rules strictly. Perhaps you can say it as a form of agnostic theism.
And so I continued it that way. Proud of being agnostic, I stood over the gnash-and-claw people have over the sake of God’s name. Laughing at them and their lunacy, whereas they fought in the name of The Loving, Merciful God. I enjoyed contempting them for many things — their rejection of science, their hatred to other religions, etc, etc. When their fallacious argument came out, it only made things funnier (and bitterer) than ever: that the utmostly-intelligent Being was ‘protected’ by a bunch of fools.
Back then, I thought it was fun to win a discussion over a religious zealot. I mean, it was priceless to see them swallowed in the gulf of their logic. They wouldn’t admit it, but they couldn’t deny the argument that they are somehow misled in their belief. It’s like a jester of debunking falsed belief — you can see they’re losing control and spurting the afterlife threat. Such things like that.
Though, there is something more to agnosticism than only that — something that I wouldn’t realize until just recently.
III. On Theology
Some months ago, I spent some moment thinking about theological matters. Is there God or not? Is there afterlife? What if it’s not like what people believe? Is choosing religion a kind of lottery? And so on.
However, it would only end with one conclusion — as I have written down in [this post] (in Indonesian). Theology can’t be verified nor falsified. It lacks of experimental standard of observation, something which would make any debate concerning its truth meaningless. Anyone can win any debates about religion and theology in general, but they can never say that they hold the absolute truth. Just like everybody in town discussed about Chinese Emperor’s nose — an analogy I used in the post aforementioned — getting the conclusion doesn’t mean that you’re obtaining the real truth.
IV. The Shrinking Pride
And that leads to the path of agnosticism. Being unable to know what lies ahead our life, I embraced the concept that is most satisfying, most logical, and most consistent I could define about God and religion. I’m still on the same religion I was in — but I can hardly agree with its zealots’ way of thinking.
I can’t believe that God would punish all the Americans because Bush Jr. tormented Iraq and Afghan with his military invasion. The likes of Michael Moore are there on the US — against the war, and taunting their President. Are they going to be sacrificed for the sake of ‘punishing US’ ?
I can’t believe that heliocentrism is false (who would?). I would be against fundamentalism in any religion; I would never agree with the hatred to kafir harbi per se — but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m only guessing that it’s what God would agree.
I can only guess.
And what is it to be prideful in that? I can bash people’s puny argument about God and religion. I can laugh at the religious-fundamentalists’ fallacious arguments. It’s also fascinating to have them cornered in the use of their logic, and so on, and so on…
…but, in the end, I don’t know anything.
In the end, I don’t even know if what I believe is true.
Perhaps for me, there’s no pride in being agnostic. There are mostly agony and irony at the best of it. Agony, that no matter how you search for it you’d never have your doubt confirmed before late — and irony, that even though you succeeded in debunking so many “knowledges” about God and religion, you still don’t know anything about what you’ve just debunked.
 Nyepi, one of sacred days celebrated by Hindu followers. At this day the followers are secluding themselves from routine activities for the means of contemplation.
Additional Note on Christmas Holiday: by this moment, Indonesian government has given about 3-4 days off during Christmas. Though, this isn’t a fixed number; whereas lunar-based holidays (i.e. Chinese New Year and Islam’s holiday) may override on it. Should it occur, some extending until January 1st may be applied to cover all the holidays.
 There are some moderate scholars’ opinions dissenting this, mostly arguing that it is alright to do so as long as the sayer doesn’t acknowledge the other’s faith. Frequently conflicts with Christmas’ celebration, due to Islam’s refusal against Trinity and Christ’s deity in Christendom.
 Another name to refer the “Idul Fitri”/”Eid-il Fitri” aforementioned
 For example, see [this news (in Indonesian)]. Didn’t get any suitable link in English, though. (o_0)
 Syaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz (1911-1999), former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. Often said as the spiritual leader of Salafy/Wahhabi movement. See the link for details about the heliocentrism affair.
 Concerning Vatican’s charge upon Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), arguably the first scientist to propose the idea of heliocentric solar system. You know what’s next. 😉
 I.e. can’t be proven objectively, due to humans’ inability to observe the theological realm from this world. See [falsifiability].