Hornbill Unleashed

July 6, 2013

Religion is a game of numbers

Filed under: Politics,religion — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Zurairi AR

Zurairi ARThere was marked silence from Malay Muslim MPs on the proposed amendment that would see a child converted into Islam if either parent consents to it. Save for some dissenting voices, most of them see no problem with it.

Being Muslims themselves, I guess they are secure in the fact that their children will never ever get converted.

The ones who will get converted are the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and irreligious kids. Never precious Muslims.

It is illegal for anybody to even try to convert a Muslim to another religion. Proselytising to Muslims is prohibited under syarie law in most states, under the threat of whipping and long stints in jail.

Conveniently enough, this does not apply the other way round. Proselytisation by Muslims is not only allowed, but encouraged.

This has caused awkward moments when a child happens to have just one parent who is a Muslim, she must embrace Islam as did her parent. She cannot choose to follow the non-Muslim parent’s religion, despite the other parent being… her parent.

Selangor Mufti Tamyes Abd Wahid had himself stressed this. Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria and him have both defended the unfair provision and told critics to back off.

For non-Muslims, if at this point you are feeling like you are being treated as a second-class citizen, then you are quite right. Nothing says “screw you” as much as saying that your opinion is not worth a damn.

Religion in an ideal world

In an ideal world, a child would have the freedom to pick and choose which religion to adhere to the moment she reaches adulthood. It is only fair that one can decide her religion at the same age when she is deemed wise enough to enter marriage, drive a car and get wasted.

This freedom to pick and choose — it might seem that this is a freedom only those outside Islam enjoy — is not really there for everyone. It is a known fact that most people do not choose their religion as much as they are born into it.

Parents would teach their children about their chosen god(s) the moment the children can understand speech. For Muslims, one of the first words a human will hear after her birth is the call to prayer.

Kids then go through a set of routines and rituals to reinforce that belief. In Malaysia and for Muslims, the reinforcements are even state-sanctioned, as religious education is made compulsory at school.

Is it any wonder then that most people stay loyal to their god until their death, and they call it “faith” instead? As for the rest, some will choose another god to worship, while others abandon all of them completely. Except for Muslims, obviously.

Quantity, not quality

For most religions, it is just a game of numbers. It is a race to see who has the most number of followers. Whose god can command more humans.

Ask most Muslims, and they will tell you that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records has said so, so it must be true.

However, ask some Christians, Hindus, and even Wiccans and they might say the same thing too.

Mormons currently have one of the largest growth rates in the United States, and is predicted to be a major world religion by the end of the century. Wiccans have claimed that they have a growth rate of over 100 per cent every year.

Quite interestingly enough, irreligion is on the rise too. Claims have been made that more and more people identify themselves as being non-religious, despite professing a religion.

Perhaps the next time a population census is held Malaysia, let us have all the non-practising Muslims, lapsed Christians and I-don’t-care animists tick the “no religion” box.

What are the chances that we might see irreligion turn out to be the fastest growing “faith” in Malaysia?

Will Izzah be a champion?

PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar revealed this week that a joint committee has been set up among the Pakatan Rakyat parties to study the law on child conversion. It might be her latest chance to prove her commitment to freedom of religion.

Last year, she had made a great stride among Malaysians for openly saying that freedom of religion should apply to all, even Malays. Sadly, political pressure from conservatives and religious hawks caused her to go back on her words, and we have all been the poorer from that.

In a country where apostasy is seen as one of the worst crimes — punishable by death, as justified by some — we more than ever need champions of freedom for, and from religion.

4 Comments »

  1. Malaysia withdraws controversial one-parent conversion law

    “We agreed that the bill’s withdrawal was necessary to ensure that such cases were resolved in a fair manner to all,” he said.Public pressure has prompted the government to withdraw the law, said Tian Chua, an MP with People’s Justice Party led by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

    Comment by Parenthood — July 17, 2013 @ 8:00 PM | Reply

  2. I hope our Islam here can adopt a more liberal model like the one in Turkey.

    Comment by rizal — July 6, 2013 @ 7:16 PM | Reply

  3. A balanced view on religion – including FOR non practising muslims – which proves you are NOT A FANATIC BUT VERY, VERY HUMAN ! I will KNOW a person IS RELIGIOUS, NO MATTER HIS BELIEVE WHEN HIS BEHAVIOUR ‘SPEAKS’ WITH LOVE AND A FORGIVING NATURE – NOT BY FORCING OTHERS TO HIS WAYS NOR BY CONDEMNING OTHERS ; Like, DO WE HAVE A MOTHER THERESA AMONGST US ? ! !

    Comment by teres6842550 — July 6, 2013 @ 9:42 AM | Reply

  4. Religion = An unproductive activity ( especially for weak-minded .and people)

    Comment by tigeryk — July 6, 2013 @ 6:17 AM | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: