About our human nature

By Ahmet Abidin Ozbek:

Part 2 of 2

“If we don’t know the past we don’t understand the present and we cannot try to influence the future”.Orianna Fallaci

For thousands of years we have tried to answer questions about our existence. Perhaps more than ideology, science, dialectics, and even  nationality, religion has – from an early stage to modern times – helped us to try and understand about our past, destiny, afterlife, justice, purpose of being and other questions. It dominated almost every aspect of life until human beings started to seek and discover different explanations. When modern human society (I mean secular and democratic) discerned that religious dogmas could be poison or opium (as Karl Marx said), people began to question its role.

These questions revealed that human beings were inside a big trap. Because, like other organized things, religion always had institutional power to manipulate individuals and society. Actually, most individuals have tended to just obey orders without asking questions. Despite a human being turning to religion for help, it turned into his enemy. Almost all individuals became copies of each other. Why? Because the esoteric language of “religion” destroyed individualism and solitude and made human beings more like animals.

Once human beings have been trained and transformed into animals they are ready to be used. Their minds become servants to tyrants. They cannot be different to any other animal because their brains have washed by “dogmas”. I say “dogma” because religion became a destructive force in society. Those individuals or trainees moved to the next step: to kill, commit suicide, destroy and massacre as a part of their “religious belief”. Anything we blindly believe (not only religion, but also political ideologies and nationalism) without accepting criticism can be dangerous. Ultimately your belief turns into dogma which becomes a destructive element in your life. Unfortunately, you are living “death”. The only meaning of your life is to serve your “dogma”. If necessary, you will kill or die for it. Being a “suicide bomber” will not be a sin anymore. As E.M. Cioran said: “Give them the hope or occasion of a massacre, they will follow you blindly”.

So, let’s return to today’s religious world. Doesn’t it surprise you that religious people hate each other more than “nonbelievers”? Each religion has its own reason to hate the others. If you are Muslim, you hate Christians or Jews; if you are Christian, you hate Muslims and Jews; if you are Jewish, you hate Christians and Muslims, etc. If you are Hindu, you don’t believe the others in India. If you are Sunni Muslim, Shi’ites are not true Muslims, etc. Can you believe that religious people will promote world peace? I believe they cannot because most religious institutions are strongly against humanitarian secularism, scientific thinking, democracy, invidualism, etc.

Ironically, most religious people living in modern states (mostly in western countries) still don’t really believe in the terms “democracy”, “secularism”, “atheism” or “nonreligous” etc. In fact, whatever they want for themselves, they don’t wish the same for others. For example, there are large Islamic groups living in western countries today. Ironically, while they are asking the democracies to tolerate their religious practices and lifestyles, they are strongly against the Christian, Jewish and nonbelievers’ lifestyles. In almost any Muslim country, the radicals are strongly against the atheists, agnostics, nonbelievers and anyone not Muslim. So those people only see “democracy” as a tool for their fundamental and totalitarian goals.

Orianna Fallaci has expressed the situation by her words: “Ninety-fivepercent of Muslims reject freedom and democracy not only because they don’t know what they are but because they don’t understand their concepts. Because their concepts are too strongly opposed to those on which theocratic totalitarianism is based. Too opposite, antithetical, to Islamic ideology”.

As we know, Christianity was an oppressive force for so many years during the middle ages. But today Muslim society has inherited the same fatalism and unscientific doctrines to destroy all values except “religion” or “belief”. One of the worst things is that Muslim religious people who believe in democracy for themselves do not want it for others. For example, the ones who live in western countries (whether secular or Christian) believe in democracy for Muslims but do not have the same wish for Christian or Jewish people who are living in Muslim countries.

I am not able to analyse every countries’ religions and “beliefs”. But, because I am from Turkey, I would like to consider some details about its religion. First of all, Turkey as a country declared itself “secular” in the 1920s. But to what extent can we believe that Turkey is a “secular” country? If we look objectively, I think we cannot separate “democracy” and “secularism”. As we know, the new Turkish republic was established as a continuum of the Ottoman dynasty. As a matter of fact being “Turkish” became as essential as being “Sunni Muslim”  in Turkey. Unfortunately, the new Turkish system has not kept its promises to minorities, ethnic groups and different religions. “Secularism” has only been promoted  for ethnic Turkish and Sunni Islam groups in Anatolia. So the Christians, Jews, Alevis, Kurds, nonbelievers, atheists, other minorities, socialists even some other Islamic groups became victims of the new system.

For example, we cannot understand historical events and massacres without relating them to the “official ideology” of the state. It is obvious that religion and nationalism have played a role together, for example in the 6-7 September events in Istanbul (1955), Maras (1978), the Sivas Massacre (1993) or Hrant Dink’s case (2007). Writer Aziz Tunc has explained in great detail the reasons for the Maras Massacre in his investigative book. He wrote: “One of the main reasons behind the massacre is Turkification and Sunnification (Islamization) of society … in Maras. The Armenians and the other non-Muslim groups had already been massacred, but the Kurds and Alevis were still a problem for the state’s ethnic cleansing project. Maras and the towns were strongholds for the Kurds and Alevis since Ottoman times. So, the Turkish and Sunni population were manipulated for the Maras massacre”.

Fallaci, Oriana. 2006. ‘The Force of Reason’, Rizzoli International, Inc. New York US & Italy. ISBN 10-0-8478-2753-4.

Tunc, Aziz. 2011. ‘Maras Massacre’ (‘Maras Kiyimi’), Historical Background and Anatomy. Belge Publishing 675. Istanbul, Turkey.ISBN. 978-975-344-090-5. 

Ahmet Abidin Ozbek was born in Ankara, Turkey and resides in Florida, USA. He is Kurdish and Alevi, has a Masters Degree in rural planning, agriculture and ecology from Turkey and Spain and was an active member of the Student Associations. He writes for www.sercavan.com and has written for the Kurdistan Observer andwww.nasname.com He is also a freelance photographer and is writing a novel.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com

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