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April 13, 2006

Bahraini Reformist: "In the Beginning There Was Man, Not Religion"

Topics: Faith

In today's world with religion so much a part of daily headlines and Islamists in Iran and elsewhere threatening world domination, Bahraini-American journalist 'Omran Salman offers some sound advice for all of us. In an article titled "In the Beginning There Was Man, Not Religion," he proposes that the value of Man should be regarded as superior to the value of religion, and suggests that this approach gives individuals the freedom to think and to control their lives, and encourages brotherhood and tolerance among human beings.

(...) "In the beginning, there was Man, and he is mightier and more precious than any other value that he has created, including the religions."

(...) Religion can never be a neutral factor in a believer's life. Every religious person carries the burden of his faith. If his faith is a light burden, it allows him to move with greater freedom, and if it is a heavy burden, it paralyzes him completely..."

(...) "Whether we be Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, a member of some other faith, or non-religious, we are [all] responsible for our lives, and we must make these [lives] worthy, as civilized human beings... We must act according to the humane principles of life, in brotherhood and tolerance, and most importantly - we must not let religion, or political authority, take over our lives and turn us into a blindly following herd.

Although I may not agree with all of the comments in his article, Salman does offer some important points; after all, God made man, man made religion, and all of us should entrust a little more faith in our maker than our makings.

This doesn't belittle the value of one's faith, rather it points to the importance of our faith choices and the manner in which we choose to apply them in our daily lives.

As suggested by Salmon, whether we are a Buddhist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, a member of some other faith, or non-religious, we are all responsible for our lives, and we must make our lives worthy, as civilized human beings, and to act according to the humane principles of life, in brotherhood and tolerance.

These are attributes many in today's world have failed to adopt, and I personally feel that such failure has much to do with not only the "blind herd" mentality suggested by Salmon, but also the cultural inability within some societies to function as rational beings. Some might call this tribalism, which involves one's almost purposeful abdication of rational thought juxtaposed with Salmon's herd-like mentality.

Here's to all of us having a better understanding of our own faith, and knowing that at it's core is our God-given freedom to think and to control our lives, and experience brotherhood, love and tolerance among all of the human beings that share our planet. At such time that any of us find ourselves believing otherwise, or attempting to control others and what they believe, then we have left the bounds of reason, joined the herd, and are no longer acting in accordance with humane principles of life, in brotherhood and tolerance.

Posted by Richard at April 13, 2006 10:47 AM



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