I have escaped from the coils of snares and deceits;
I have unraveled all knots except the knot of Death. – Avicenna
Readers discretion is required | Parental Advisory
As summer began, and the restrictions and curfew were eased, Robin, Ahmed, Jorge, and his girlfriend Gill, and I planned a picnic to have a picnic at the beach. And, after we laid our picnic mat, ate bitterballen (Dutch meatball snack), Krockets, and broodjes (Dutch Sandwiches), and we all sipped on our cold beers.
Robin let the alcohol get to him, as he steered the conversation into the no-go area of religion in a public gathering. The below conversation ensued. It’s important to add that where memory fails to reproduce the exact words or thoughts, shared in the conversation, creativity augments my memory – the effects of those blond beers.
Act 1 – The Opening
Robin: guys I think if everyone were agnostics, the world will be made a better place. What do you think?
Ahmed: No, imagine if for once everyone was Islamic, at least there will be fewer wars because there will be no need for the menace that comes from Jihads.
Jorge: Christianity scores an ace in its effort to unite the world under Jesus or Abraham.
Gill: What! What are you saying?
Me: Robin, why talk about religion, around the sand, sea, and an approaching sunset?
Robin(Rob): Why can’t we talk about religion.
Me: Because it divides us, humans, more than it unites us.
Gill: I agree.
Jorge: I think we should talk about it. It’s rare to see Fisayo avoid a topic or subject…
Robin: True that, Jorge.
Ahmed: Yes! That true, because it’s been itching me like a bug, to ask Fisayo, what religion he is lately. You all know there was a time, he tried to take all of us to church, with arguments from both hell, and gems from paradise.
Me: What are you saying, man…
Jorge: Me too, Ahmed?
Robin: The verdict is cast, because one time he was all, ‘Christiannie,’ tilted to Scientology, and you remember his posts early this year about his conversations with a Shaman? So, yes tell us Fisayo what religion are you?
Me: I’ll rather have us talk about the Euro Vision 2021 tournament in a few days?
Ahmed: What are you saying? You don’t like football, nor have the patience to watch a match for 30 minutes…
Gill: You’ve been busted! Now I want to know too.
Me: Guys, trust me you don’t want to discuss religion with me, because you all have a fixed view of religion, and you have no idea the breadth and depth of the “logy’ of theology I’ve explored from my early 20s till date?
Jorge: Fisayo, am a Christian by birth, and not a religious Christian, so your generalization isn’t accurate that I have a fixed view on religion, which makes me broad-minded to accept other people’s religion…
Robin: What are you talking about Jorge, I’m an agnostic, so which makes me more broad-minded than most on the issue of religion or theology. And, again Fisayo, Nice try! But you won’t evade our question. I refuse to bite your bait, to change the topic of what your present religion is…
Gill: Dayum Fisayo! No escaping for you now…
Ahmed (laughs): Robin, I am with your 100!
Me (smiling): Wow guys! Why are you putting me in the spotlight? I simply will like to enjoy the sea, sand, and approaching sunset, in a light conversation, but you will rather have us talk about what divides us…
Jorge: No Fisayo! Your refusal to answer a direct question is uniting us to have you speak on your present religion. And, as it turns out, it’s four against one, so speak up Fisayo, what’s your present religion…
Me: Okay my present religion is (spelling) L O V E! Love.
Robin: What’s that?
Jorge: So, if your religion is Love, what does that make Christianity?
We all laugh at Jorge’s sarcasm.
Me: Guys, you all have been proven my previous point, from the beginning of this conversation, from you stating your religions, then Ahmed and Jorge argued that the world will be a better place if everyone else accepted their religions, Then you Robin, and Jorge, tried to claim that both your views of religion is broad-minded because you accept other peoples religion, and Robin claims his view: not to accept the existence of God makes his view on religion superior to others.
Gill (with a smirk): Okay guys! Fisayo is right on that one, though.
Jorge: FYI Fisayo, remember that the core of Christianity is centered on Love…
Ahmed (interjects): One of the aims of Islam is to promote peace…
Robin: Islam and Christianity are both are from the same cloth – from Judaism. See Fisayo, you are not the only one who has viewed the depths of religion…
Me: While you are right Robin, I bet when you talk about the depths of religion, you mean the depths of popular religion, or should I say the mainstream religions.
Robin: Well, the mainstream religions have the most influence on the world.
Me: Well said like an eight-year-old, asking ‘why’ questions in a Sunday school class.
Gill: Ouch! Fisayo be nice!
Robin: What do you mean.
Me: No insult intended to you, Robin. I just find the agnostic view quite superficial, though I understand it’s propelled by doubt and rationality, where the origin can be traced back to the Epicurean paradox, where he questioned the omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience of a supreme being. Also, this paradox was then transformed in the medieval ages to the paradox of the stone, where Averroes and Thomas Aquinas exercised their wits to depose.
Me: See why…
Robin: I’m impressed that you are aware of these paradoxes, so then why do you term the doubt of the agnostic an eight-year-old ‘why’ questions in a Sunday school.
Me: Because it’s my personal view that agonistics overvalues the insights from thoughts, and cease to wonder further when their questions can’t find answers.
Robin: Dude, what are you saying?.
Act 2 – The Mid-Game
Me: Agnostics question the necessity for a supreme being but quit to marvel at the how or why in all ages and every era of recorded history, religion has had major sway in the development of past civilizations.
Jorge: That’s because, on the first day, man created God…
Robin: True that Jorge!
Me: I am sure you’ll agree with me if you decide to spend some time with the works of Thomas Paine and Bertrand Russell, from different angles. So Robin, if you’re an agnostic, allow me to say I been that, and now I’m off that. Yet, I appreciate the lens of the agnostic, it’s a strong tool in my tool bag of religion or should I say theology.
Robin: hmmm, I guess I rest my case.
Ahmed: Fisayo, I know you’ve told me that you were once raised a Muslim, and you come from a long line of preachers, so am in awe of your present irreligious stance.
Jorge: Ahmed, I couldn’t have said it better. Please indulge us Fisayo.
Me: Hmmm, Ahmed, that’s a deep man!
Gill: Now I can’t wait to hear what you have to say next.
Me: I hope you won’t look at me weird, after my next words.
Robin: You are weird to me before now, and after now you will remain weird to me.
We all laugh.
Me: let me start by saying what I know about the two major Judaic religions, that continue to cause life-changing tremors in our modern world – Islam, and Christianity. Christians and Muslims only accept their beliefs and label every other belief contrary to theirs as pagans and the enemy to their God, and don’t dare to learn about beliefs contrary to theirs.
Robin: That’s true.
Me: Yet, it’s a fact that the first five books of their holy books were highly influenced by the insights Moses gleaned from the Egyptians. And, their most blessed Kings in their holy books were influenced by the religious practices of the nations they conquered.
Robin: For one, the tithe was adopted from Cyrus, when he was implementing an economic expansion for his empire, in the form of the Yehud.
Me: Thanks, Robin for the apt historical reference.
Me: Secondly, While Martin Luther, pioneered the path for the Protestant branch of Christianity, which allows this branch of Christianity to evolve and grow with the times. The Holy Prophet of Islam – Prophet Muhammed, created a high entry barrier to Islam by making it mandatory to first learn the Islamic language before one can practice the religion, which makes the teaching of Islam by rote – mechanically, which lacks the open-mindedness required in the Protestant branch of Christianity.
Jorge: While I get what you just said, but that does not negate the fact that one of the Judaic religions is more original or older than the other branches…
Me: Exactly my next point. To me, the effects of the superiority complex of the three main branches of Judaism is that though Judaism can claim that the origin of its religion is love and freedom for all, as time passed by, the love for power and the intoxication of influence overshadowed the expected noble intentions of the elements in its origins.
Ahmed: Hmmmnn, now Fisayo that’s deep.
Me: Allow me to add, the prophets in your holy books, rejected the beliefs of others contrary to the Judaic principles, and call them pagans, or explicitly declared them lifelong enemies. The adverse effects of this reached its peak during the Witch Hunt of the Middle ages in Europe, and even down to our present day, there is ongoing inhuman persecution of the Alevites, or Alevism, because their beliefs transcend the belief of the supreme beings in the Judaic religion, and neglects the importance of its prophets.
Act 3 – The End Game
Gill: Wow! I know the Witch hunt in the Middle ages, but the ongoing persecution of the Alevites, I don’t know.
Me: The fascinating part of all of this, is that the Judaic Holy book is so written in the context of its geographic reach. In these Holy books, beliefs outside the region of reach, in the era these Holy books were written were not mentioned, beliefs like the Wiccan, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, Shamanism, and present-day Scientology.
Jorge: What do you mean?
Me: Well, the believers of the Judaic God classify believers of the above-mentioned religions as pagans, and conclude these folks require conversion either by force or by silver tongue persuasion, without first taking time to understand or acknowledge the truths in the beliefs of the so-called pagans, or perhaps see where these beliefs intersect with the truths in the Judaic holy books.
Robin: Dayum! Preach it, Fisayo.
Me: Ohhh, I am not done. Christians and Muslims alike, strive for piety, yet will look upon the Noble eightfold path of Buddhism as blasphemy, because it is not written in their holy books. They talk well about the trinity but will look upon Wiccan Triquetra and Triskelion as pagan symbols. They advocate for individual freedom, but see the methodology of Scientology as a cult, and glorify the strength of the mind and the body, yet will call the wisdom in shamanic principles as diabolic.
Gill: How do you know about the Triquetra and Triskelion.
Me: like I said, in the beginning, you don’t know the depths and breadths of theology I have traversed and traverse…
Gill: I have a confession.
Robin: Let me guess, you’re Wiccan?!
Jorge: No she’s not, she doesn’t practice any religion.
Gill: Well, technically, though my parents did not practice a mainstream religion, my mom and grandma are Wiccan, and I was raised a Wiccan.
Jorge: Wow! How come you decided to tell me this here and now?
Gill: Well, if Fisayo knows the Triquetra and Triskelion, and sees how they relate to the trinity, I think you can understand that Wicca is not witchery, Jorge.
Robin: Now, I see why you warned us earlier, Fisayo.
Me: And, I’m on a roll, so I’ll further add, the atheist and agnostic, and the believe of Judaism celebrate holidays, based on the movement of the earth concerning the sun and the moon, yet emphasize that astronomy is unreal and ungodly. The Wiccan Wheel of the year, houses all the holidays celebrated globally, yet the Wiccan are labeled as witches.
Me: How did you celebrate the Beltane?
Gill: I spent time with my mom, dad and siblings.
Jorge: What’s Beltane?
Me: What you call May Day?
Robin and Ahmed: Urgh Really?!
Me: Finally, Judaism and all its branches preach charity, generosity, and simplicity, but its leaders define their blessings based on the value of luxury they can afford and enjoy, or have access to. Its believers size each other’s worth, based on the whiff of their perfume, but call the incense burning of Hinduism as an idolatry practice, and neglect the aromatherapy in incense burning.
Jorge: Okay Fisayo, now we can change the topic.
Me: Really?! I thought you guys asked me to indulge you in my newfound religion of Love.
Gill: Well, yes, indeed, you are yet to explain what that means. Is it accepting all religions?
Me: Not accepting all religions, but appreciating every religion, by striving to see the similarities in all religions, and respect the differences in all religions with awe and wonder.
Robin: Well said Fisayo, how do I become a member?
Me: Hhahahaahahaa, funny you. It’s a personal choice, or should I say a lifestyle, so there are no members, nor Facebook page, or Instagram profile. It’s a lifestyle I believe enables me to be my authentic self, and eliminates my need to judge anyone’s way of life, or beliefs.
Ahmed: Fisayo, you will be more convincing if only you didn’t sound so condescending and self-righteous.
Me (laughing): Lucky me! am not trying to be convincing, Ahmed. Now, can we please enjoy this amazing sunset, with deep breaths as we silently appreciate the numerous cultures and minds that benefit from the hope and joy in each sunrise and sunset?
We proost – dutch for cheers, to Love, take a sip of our drink, and silently witness the sunset.
*** Then End ***