One thing that bothers me about religion is the way it imposes its beliefs on others, disrespecting the values of those who don’t agree with it.
To add insult to injury, it does it in the name of enlightenment.
It also acts under the guise of tolerance. People of religious faith are entitled to their beliefs, goes the argument. Which they are, no one denies that.
The problem is how this right to exercise one’s faith is abused in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘enlightenment,’ strong-arming its way into the lives of those who aren’t religious, as well as those of a different faith.
One may say that this kind of attitude is not characteristic of religion in general but of religious extremism, which exploits faith to serve rigid and self-serving agendas.
While this is true to an extent, it’s not that simple.
The problem begins with self-righteousness and bias. Believers have a sense of ownership over the world that compels them to make their opinions explicit at any time, regardless of whether you want to hear them or not. They deem themselves the messengers of divinity.
And the trouble begins. With religious self-importance comes obnoxiousness. (This has nothing to do with extremism. It’s a default characteristic of a holier-than-thou state of mind.)
Here’s what has prompted this polemic. The following video was taken at 5:30 am in a city of roughly 250,000 people. The location doesn’t matter. The point is that the muezzin of the mosque likes to start early. His daily routine would be none of my concern had he kept it to himself and his followers. But he hasn’t. He likes to transmit his sermon over a loudspeaker that is heard across the city.
And so it goes, every morning!
Some would call this disrespectful. Others a disturbance of the peace.
I call it a disgrace! Every day, at 5:30 in the morning, I and so many individuals wake up because this dude believes he has the right to blare his prayers into every square inch of space. And I’m supposed to be OK with that because he has the right to exercise his faith.
Well, he does have the right to exercise his faith! But he doesn’t have the right to intrude upon me — or others like me — while doing so. Just as he has every right to be religious, I have the right not to be harassed by his beliefs. He should carry out his routine in a way that respects people’s privacy. If he can’t respect boundaries, he ought to be penalized or shut down.
Bottom line, this muezzin is not an extremist. He’s your average muezzin. His practice is part of a religious routine. And that routine involves blaring five sermons a day over loudspeakers so that everyone can hear them, just because they said so. Damned be the people of other faiths, or of no faith at all, who aren’t interested in them. We have to listen to it all the same, or shut our windows and stuff ourselves in the heat. Everyone’s privacy is to be invaded in the name of God and religious freedom.
The insult to injury? Call this practice narrow-minded, asinine, and in violation of social standards, and you get called names.
What the hell! I’m harming no one, calling out someone who doesn’t have the decency to keep his beliefs in the vicinity of his venue. Let them remember that.
PS – the same applies for church bells, church sermons (I’ve heard a few on the loudspeaker, too), and any kind of religious activity that is blasted daily across cities and towns, into people’s homes, just because someone feels entitled to do so.