Sunday, August 29, 2010
I allowed myself to get embroiled in a blog conversation with someone whose objective was only to inflame, ridicule, provoke, and insult. See:
I bent over backwards to accommodate A’idah’s points, give weight to her accusations, and maintain objectivity at the same time. In the end, I had to extricate myself, and I’ve been agitated for two days.
Why? What sort of emotional complex gets activated, not only in me but in many people, when religion is on the table? This question seems more important than the conversation we’d had in the first place. The topic was Islam, of course. What other topic, these days, inflames to the extent that Islam inflames?
Islam is the third largest monotheistic religion in the world. It’s been around for centuries. Something is right with it. The best way to address troublesome issues regarding Islam and the West is to admit that something, indeed, is right with it. That “rightness” underlies all else, and needs to be acknowledged before any of us– Muslim or non-Muslim– will be able to purge Islam and cultures of the deviations have taken hold and drawn us all under the rubble.
A’idah and I were at cross purposes, and I knew it from the start, but why did I yield to the bait? The answer lies not with the conversation, but with me. It goes all the way back to my conversion to Islam in 1987. No, it goes back further, to my rejection of certain aspects of Christianity. No, it goes back further than that, even. Maybe it goes all the way back to birth, when my cozy world spit me out into cold, noisy air and assaulted me with tactile irritations, blinding brightness and speed-of-light motion that induced a most terrifying vertigo, followed by prodding and rubbing and the shock of my own first breaths.
Then I heard my mother’s voice.
Religion is a response to birth trauma?
Does that sound far-fetched, or atheistic?
Even as a believer in Allah, I can accommodate the idea that religion could be a response to birth trauma.
Well, be that as it may, I remain agitated, angry even, at how Islam has been kicked and slugged and stabbed and blasted by people who take pleasure in the attack, who do not ask the hard questions, do not even pretend to dig into the substance of the matter, but condemn with sweeping verbosity, and polish their skills at sarcastic dialogue with bitter, lip-licking delight.